You’ve got artists that change with the times, for better or for worse. Then
you’ve got those artists that stick with the same formula that made them
successful in the first place. Canadian rocker Bryan Adams falls into the latter
category, and his latest effort, Room Service, is proof of that. The sad
thing is, it’s almost like we’re listening to the same songs he was writing 20
years ago. Even worse, some of the tracks sound like they came from the “Don
Juan Demarco” era of the early ‘90s. That said, there are a few shining moments
on Room Service that are worth mentioning.
“East Side Story” starts things off in typical Adams fashion, precision guitar
work mixed with that trademark raspy vocal that still sounds like he’s in his
prime. However, the lyrics are some of his weakest ever: “Wanna give her my
number / Wanna tell her my name / Wanna climb on board that cross-town bus /
Take a chance she feels the same.” He recovers nicely with “This Side of
Paradise,” which is tailor made for Hot AC radio. “Flying”, the title track, and
“She’s a Little Too Good For Me” are more examples of classic Adams, the latter
having that “Summer of ‘69” feel.
For those who cringed when Adams had his “sellout” phase with “Everything I Do,”
you might want to skip the sappy “I Was Only Dreamin’.” “Nowhere Fast” has a
country-tinged, almost Sheryl Crow feel and is a decent song. But Adams saves
the best for last, as “Why Do You Have To Be So Hard To Love” is not only the
best track on Room Service, it’s one of his best in years. In fact, this
song has a smoky barroom feel that would make it at home on a RYAN Adams record.
Room Service is a nice album, but falls short of being anything special.
Fans of Bryan Adams are either going to love it or become bored with it in a
hurry. As formulas go, Adams went with what brought him to the dance, but he’s
going to find that people aren’t always going to want to dance with him.