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Bryan Adams: 11

I did something completely different to review the new Bryan Adams' album '11.' I listened half way through and then took it to work knowing my boss would probably be interested. He was. He's thirteen years younger than me but old enough to remember the high days when Adams ruled the charts with such songs as 'Cuts Like A Knife' and 'Summer Of '69.' He gave '11' a spin in the office (at a considerably reduced volume) only once and concluded that he was unimpressed. I witheld my judgment having not listened to the whole on my own. I don't think this work captured him like Adams '80's stuff.

'11' is Mr. Adams first new studio work since 2004's 'Room Service' which was generally mediocre and struggled to go gold. It appears his most significant work ended with 'Waking Up The Neighbors' in 1996, at least in America. Yet, in 2008, we may have reason to believe that Adams is still the fine musician and songwriter we all know him to be. The latter is probably his most basic and profound skill: Adams is a very good songwriter. He is a very good lyricist and storyteller; and when the moment is right the music catches up to this talent. I believe on '11' these qualities gel once again.

I cannot say that are real gems like the aforementioned hits of early years. Nor would I say that '11' is profound work. However, it is significant achievement over and above anything Adams has produced in the last ten years. As I said, the songwriting is up to his best form. The music rocks in comfortable manner that shows more maturity than youthful raucousness. 'Tonight We Have The Stars' and 'Oxygen' are examples of this motif. The latter has the licks and hooks of classic Adams. Mostly, the music moves in a more melodic AOR way. Consider 'Flower Grown Wild' or 'Broken Wings' or, simply, the whole second half of the album.

I was pleased with a '11' and happy to hear from Bryan Adams again. I don't think he's going make a dent in the current trends of American rock. He'll have more success with his older fans or overseas where this music is still appreciated. Still, Adams should not be overlooked; '11' is a very good album. Very recommended!


In Short

Bryan Adams returns in 2008 with '11,' a collection of fine AOR and melodic rock numbers that display his exceptional songwriting skills. Fans should know that this is not 'Reckless' or 'Waking Up The Neighbors,' but it is his best work in ten years.

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