It’s easy to discount the career of Bryan Adams, but the man’s contribution to
classic rock – especially in the ‘80s, when the genre was in serious trouble –
should not be overlooked. His work is compiled nicely in the two-disc Anthology,
which spans 36 tracks over 25 years.
Adams built most of his fan base in the ‘80s behind monster classic rock anthems
like “Summer of ’69,” “Cuts Like A Knife” and “Run To You.” Unlike his two
previous compilations, So Far So Good and The Best of Me, this collection
contains every major hit in the Adams catalog. Of his 38 singles that charted,
just nine are missing: “Fits Ya Good,” “I’m Ready,” “Take Me Back,” “The Only
One,” “Another Day,” “Into the Fire,” “Victim of Love,” “Young Lust” and “Do I
Have To Say The Words?” Like I said, no major hits are missing.
Adams probably doesn’t have the juice to justify a two-disc set, and since the
songs are (properly) listed in chronological order, the meat of the set is on
the first disc. The only exception is the lackluster “The Best of Me,” which was
originally released in 1999, well after several songs on the second disc.
Otherwise, the first disc reads like a what’s-what in the Adams catalog,
including the three biggies listed above along with the major hits “Somebody,”
“Heaven,” “One Night Love Affair” and “This Time.”
In the early ‘90s, Adams’ sound morphed from rock into adult contemporary, and
the second half of Anthology sounds like Adams Lite, with lots of ballads and
faux rock. One of the better tracks on the second disc is Adams’ collaboration
with Sting and Rod Stewart on “All for Love,” which first appeared on the
soundtrack for The Three Musketeers. As with most compilations, there is some
new material – “So Far So Good” and “When You’re Gone” (featuring, of all
people, Pam Anderson). Neither song will appeal to those looking to relive the
feeling of hearing “Summer of ‘69” for the first time. Still, the collection is
more exhaustive than the previous two, so fans can pick up Anthology with
confidence, knowing that it isn’t missing much.