A & M Records, 1980
REVIEW BY: Eric E5S16
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/02/1998
Have you ever seen that commercial with Fabio, and he says "I can't believe it's not butter?" Well, that's how I felt when I heard the self-titled album by Bryan Adams, released in 1980. I kept saying (and I still do today), "I can't believe this is BRYAN ADAMS!"
For those who are familiar with Adams's later albums, his voice is very worn; that harsh rough voice is evident in songs featured in his most famous album, Reckless. When I was in a rock and roll band back in 1985, our drummer was a huge fan of Adams. As we were driving towards Chicago, where we used to rehearse, he popped in a tape, as the three of us (me, the drummer, and the bass player) listened. As each song played, this album was DAMN GREAT! So, I asked, "Who is this?" and was SHOCKED to learn that is was Bryan Adams.
The reason why I was so shocked, because Adams's voice was so clear on this album, and a lot of the songs were in the high vocal range. Obviously, it was the Reckless album that caught my attention as my band did many of the songs from that album, as well as material from his earlier albums, Cuts Like A Knife, and You Want It You Got It. The songs we did from those albums featured Adams as rough, both musically and vocally.
However, his debut album features songs that are more pop than later released albums. "Hidin' From Love," "Wait And See" are songs that are in the pop-rock style of say, someone like Richard Marx. In fact, all of the songs are in that same pop rock mode.
But when I heard "Give Me Your Love", I could not believe that Adams could hit a falsetto note as he did in this tune. Obviously, he couldn't hit those notes today. Also, I'm sure that he doesn't perform any of the songs featured from his debut album in concerts.
This album has other great tunes: "Win Some Lose Some," "Wastin' Time," "State Of Mind" are true pop songs that could easily get airplay on AM radios than FM. Adams started out as a pop artist (so to speak) with this album. There weren't any big hits, but after listening to it, it's just so different than how he sounds today.
His second album was You Want It You Got It. His voice was still clear, yet it was just starting to break. By the time of his third album, Cuts Like A Knife, the clearness was deteriorating fast. And by his fourth album, Reckless, his clear voice was gone.
In listening to his #1 ballads, "Heaven", "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" and "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman", you can easily tell his voice is not as clear as the years gone by. Singing such rockers as "Summer Of '69" and "Kids Wanna Rock", can pretty much put anyone's singing voice out of the clear.
But truly, Adams knows how to rock. He maybe famous for his #1 ballads, but his rough-styled voice matches the rough-rockers that he produces. How can you not enjoy such rockers as the ones from Reckless? I'll have to admit, after performing many of Adams' tunes in my band, back then, I became a huge fan, and still am today.
Sadly, his debut album is not available on CD, but it used to be at one time. (Editor's note: The album is out-of-print in the U.S. as of this reposting in August 2000, but the CD is available as an import.) Thanks to a friend of mine, he just happened to be at one of the local record stores, thumbing through the used CD section, and saw the debut album. Since he wasn't sure if this was the one I was looking for, he approached me (I was at work at the time) and explained that he had seen the debut album on CD, and verified the album cover. Quite naturally, I yelled "YES, THAT'S THE ONE!" It was seven bucks; I gave him the money, and he ran.
I still cannot understand why older albums are not available on CD, even if they were previously. They say that when they don't sell, they pull it off the CD shelves and discontinue them. There are many artists who have never even seen the CD racks, period. The only way you may get a hold of these albums is through import ads, and we all know that they pretty much charge you an arm and a leg at times. But, if you know these albums will not surface on the CD laser beam, maybe it's worth it.
The debut album by Adams is well worth any price. It's different, and it's his first album. It's a treat to view any popular artist's first album, and see the direction they were heading, comparing to the later albums they released later. Perfect example is listening to this album and then the Reckless album...BIG DIFFERENCE!
Discover an artist's "humble" beginnings... Adams's debut is an album you'll be amazed by: "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S BRYAN ADAMS!"