Bryan Adams is music’s equivalent to an embarrassing uncle: he’s tragically unhip, loved and despised in equal measure and seemingly unable to grow old gracefully. However, with Room Service, Bryan Adams is out to prove that he is still relevant 25 years after his debut album, and I have to admit, he just about succeeds.
That’s in no small part due to a back-to-basics approach that sees him mostly eschewing the syrupy ballads of his recent past for a new generation of trademark rockers. The catchy-as-hell opener, “East Side Story,” catapults the Canadian’s sound right into the 21st century and serves as a statement of intent for the album’s tone. “This Side of Paradise” continues the contemporary rocking vibe, while “Not Romeo, Not Juliet” is more mid-tempo rocker than the trite ballad its title suggests. The whole album was written and recorded on tour, and the belting title track reflects the banality of the touring cycle and its characterless hotels. “Right Back Where I Started From” maintains the upbeat vibe, while album highlight “She’s A Little Too Good For Me” is destined to be a live classic on future tours.
It’s not all good news — the generic ballad “Flying” will surely be a single, even though it hardly deserves to be — but the fact that first single, “Open Road,” is virtually “Run To You” Mk II proves that with Room Service Adams is back on form. It won’t please everyone, but on this evidence, the veteran rocker has a new lease of life.
Bryan Adams: www.bryanadams.com