Bryan Adams: Cuts Like A Knife (A&M)

IF THIS were a CREEM feature story, the boldface headline would plead with you thusly: CAN YOU IGNORE THE PAIN IN THIS FACE? BRYAN ADAMS, 1983 CUTE POPSTER POSTER BOY: ONE MORE VICTIM IS ONE TOO MANY.

I probably wouldn’t want to be Bryan Adams, and you probably wouldn’t, either. Even though I would love to look that lethal in blue jeans, would love to have those Jean Shrimpton cheekbones, and would love to be 23 years old, cocksure and just releasing my third album. (Timid title: Cuts Like A Knife.)

If I were Bryan Adams, I think I would see Nick Gilder haunting my dreams. I would hear too many songs by the Paley Brothers and the Pop and a million other scrumptious boys with photogenic faces and fixations on jukebox pop. I would be sick to my stomach with the spectre of such high-profile anonymity. I might even write songs about women with ships or war or the guy that gives me my perfect haircut — “better to be weird than to be woodwork” is an old rock ‘n’ roll credo, isn’t it?

If you and I were Bryan Adams, though, I don’t think we’d listen to this condescending shit for another minute. No sweat, you know? The guy may be young, and from Vancouver, to boot, but there is no identity crisis afoot here, at least not according to the new press releases and the album lyric sheet.

“Heavy metal pop” he calls it, and the shakers and the movers in his life are ready for starland. Adams has been opening for bands like Foreigner, the Kinks and Loverboy. His songs have been covered by Ian Lloyd and metalists Prism

Well, I don’t think Bryan or Cuts Like A Knife rate more than a five on the Richter scale. Of course, who the hell am I to know? I pegged Cougar’s American Fool a DOA the first time I heard it. I thought Benny Mardones was going to be a bigger arena draw than Billy Graham.

Actually, I just can’t imagine what it would be like to be Bryan Adams.

I suppose it goes beyond cheekbones and bluejeans. How can someone have such a perfect sense of the possibilities between metal and pop and allow it to be wasted on songs that redefine the phrase “average”? Adams can play a snappy guitar; he comes up with the occasional killer hook (‘The Only One’); he sings great; he has that the true faith, that indefatigable belief in the healing power of pop music, powerchord telekinesis and all that. So why isn’t this a fun record? Hey, don’t ask me, I’m not Bryan Adams. And, judging from Cuts Like A Knife, perhaps neither is he.

© Laura FissingerCreem, May 1983

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