Bryan Adams' self-titled debut album, "Bryan Adams" is probably the one album of the Bryan Adams portfolio that is forgotten. This was an effort released back in 1980 and recorded when Adams was 20 years old. While it would be Adams' sophomore effort, "You Want It, You Got It" that would be the album that helped him build a name for himself, "Bryan Adams" still shows the promise for what is to be solid career. There are some very good songs on this collection that may appeal to someone who is looking to go deeper within the Adams portfolio.
There have been two staples of Bryan Adams' career: His songwriting partnerships and his top-notch band. As for the songwriting partnerships, Adams has partnerships with Robert "Mutt" Lange and Gretchen Peters, but perhaps the best known is Adams' partnership with Jim Vallance. It is on "Bryan Adams" that the songwriting partnership with Jim Vallance would begin. This partnership would last for five full albums and part of a sixth (the songwriting alliance came to an end on "Waking Up the Neighbours"). During this time, much of the material would be a balance of hard-rocking songs and power ballads that often revolved around the theme of relationships (although later albums such as "Into the Fire" would explore more social issues). On "Bryan Adams", we see the roots of this alliance and how they revolve around the theme of relationships. This album also presents a lot of unique sounds that many may not have seen in Bryan Adams in his more popular works.
As for Adams' bands, he has always had a staple for having a top-notch band. Starting with "You Want It, You Got It", Adams' would begin to assemble his band - drummer Mickey Curry and keyboardist Tommy Mandel were brought in. One Adams' third album, "Cuts Like a Knife", Adams' recruited guitarist Keith Scott and bassist Dave Taylor. These four members would become longtime staples of Adams' band - especially Scott and Curry (two of the best studio musicians in the business) who for all practical purposes stay with Adams throughout his whole musical tenure. These musicians have played a key role in shaping "the Adams sound". To some extent, "Bryan Adams" isn't helped because it lacks these musicians supplementing Adams' terrific vocals and lyrics. I wouldn't categorize this as a negative, because the sound on this album is still very strong. It is just that the sound could have been even better if Adams had his regular band assembled for this collection. On the other hand, "Bryan Adams" might be the closest thing to a true solo album in the Adams portfolio. For the most part, Adams and Vallance handle the lion's share of the instrumentals on this collection.
Here is a look at each of the tracks on the collection:
"Hiding From Love": This song has some nice guitar riffs but for the most part has more of a synthesizer feel. From a lyrical standpoint, this song has the classic Adams/Vallance feel when it comes to relationships. This is a song that is catchy and one of the better tracks on the collection.
"Win Some, Lose Some": This song has much more of a Rock feel to it. Both the music and Adams' vocals are raw, but that seems to work on this track. There is some interesting keyboards and percussions in this song that help make the song stand out.
"Wait and See": This song has a classic Adams feel to it and should keep Adams fans happy. Vallance provides some terrific guitar work - particularly at the end. The ending kind of reminds me of "She's Only Happy When She's Dancing".
"Give Me Your Love": This song shows the softer-side to Adams as he sings a ballad. Adams' voice isn't quite as polished as it his on his latter ballads, but this song still shows much potential. The melody of this song has a slight R&B feel - something that really isn't seen on later Adams' albums.
"Wastin Time": Once again, we see a song that is reminiscent of what is the classic Adams/Vallance feel when it comes to relationships. A very solid track.
"Don't Ya Say It": To the Adams fan, this is going to be one of the most unique songs in Adams' career. This song has a Motown feel up and down. Adams pulls this sound off perfectly. There is a terrific saxophone solo and some great background vocals that really put a stamp on this song. It is a shame that Adams hasn't done more like this.
"Remember": This might be the best-known track from this album as Adams has been known to do this song in some of his more recent concerts (a live version is on the "Live at the Budokan" concert). This is a very strong track. This is another example of synthesizers and solid guitar riffs gelling very nicely. The beat is very catchy as well.
"State of Mind": This song reminds me of Bryan Adams meets Billy Joel. The piano work and lyrics does loosely resemble something by Billy Joel. It is Adams' raspy vocals that put his own signature on this song. There is a good guitar solo on this song as well.
"Try to See it My Way": Another song that has a classic Adams/Vallance feel, but at the same time this is the kind of song you feel like you can blast the radio and cruise down the highway with. Along with "Remember", this is the strongest track and it has a great feel for a "wrap-up" track for an album. There is a good guitar bridge on this track.
The liner notes are thin and do not include the lyrics. This is a very good album. It should definitely appeal to the deep Adams fan, but it also offers something for the casual fan. It sets the stage for a successful career to follow for Bryan Adams. Highly recommended.