- Buy the CD
Reviewed by Mike Farley
But after a few mediocre albums, Adams seems to have rediscovered a bit of magic on his latest release, 11 – his, um, eleventh studio effort. And while we’re on the subject of numbers, here’s a guy who is almost 50, and still looks and sounds like he’s 30. Yes, there is a bit of sap on 11, but what Adams gives his fans on this self-released album is some really well-crafted songs.
You might think this is a covers album at first, just by glancing at the track titles -- “Broken Wings,” “She’s Got a Way,” and “Walk on By.” The thought of Adams covering Dionne Warwick, even with “American Idol’s” David Cook rocking up Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey songs, just isn’t right. But no, these are all Adams’ own takes on those lyrical themes.
The opener, “Tonight We Have the Stars,” is vintage Adams – mid-tempo, melodic and something you might hold up a lighter to at one of his shows. The same goes for “I Thought I’d Seen Everything,” which is straight-up rock along the lines of “This Time.” But here is where it gets interesting. “Oxygen” is one of Adams’ best tracks in years, the kind of song you just knew he finished writing and had to feel good about. “Broken Wings” is a bluesy, Aerosmith-like semi-ballad, and the kind of radio-friendly fare that could be cut by almost anyone. Finally there is “Mysterious Ways,” which may not win over new fans, but it will remind you of the days of one of Adams’ less-heralded releases, Into the Fire.
If Bryan Adams retired on a beach somewhere and shriveled up like a raisin, we certainly wouldn’t hold it against him. But this guy seems to just keep working, and he has suddenly remembered that he has hooks left in that creative mind of his. No, it’s not Bryan Adams at his best, but it is certainly dude’s best work in – gulp – 20 years, and a very pleasant surprise.