Bryan Adams has a new album out. It’s called Room Service:

I think this is cause for some exploration into the Bryan Adams catalog — his oeuvre, if you will. You will, won’t you? Let’s begin. And don’t worry, we won’t be doing anything as silly as focusing on the music — that isn’t where Bry’s true talent lies. As a musician, Adams veers between embarrassing attempts to be taken seriously and amazingly bland attempts at rocking. No. His real forte lies in taking hoary phrases and turning them into lyrics, song titles, and album titles. Bryan Adams, as we shall soon see, is a Master Cliché Excavator.

This tendency pops up from the beginning, in Adams’ earliest broad, fumbling attempts for fame. He tried everything — from the blandest pop to the most unfunky disco — to make it big. Every artist has these pre-stardom skeletons in his closet, though, so we won’t hold them against him. We will focus only on his major-label solo albums, beginning here:


Bryan Adams (1980)

Don’t Ya Say It
Give Me Your Love
Hidin’ From Love
Remember
State Of Mind
Try To See It My Way
Wait And See
Wastin’ Time
Win Some Lose Some

On the Cliché-O-Meter, this early effort scores an impressive 9 out of 9. While “Don’t Ya Say It” and “Hidin’ From Love” can’t accurately be described as clichés per se, the judges feel “Win Some Lose Some” is worth triple points, giving Bryan Adams a perfect score. Young Bryan audaciously follows up this triumph just a year later:


You Want It, You Got It (1980)

Coming Home
Don’t Look Now
Fits Ya Good
Jealousy
Last Chance
Lonely Nights
No One Makes It Right
One Good Reason
Tonight
You Want It, You Got It

Yes! You Want It, You Got It! I mean, yeah, it would have been better if he’d titled it Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover or something, but really — for someone just beginning to discover his craft, it’s a tremendous choice. And just look at the songs! “Coming Home”:”Don’t Look Now”:”Last Chance”:and oh man, “One Good Reason”! This entry in the catalog does represent a bit of a setback, what with “Fits Ya Good” and “No One Makes It Right” representing brief, limited flashes of original thought, but better men than Adams have succumbed to the sophomore jinx. He’ll fight his way back, but for now his Cliché-O-Meter score is a respectable 9 out of 10. He took two years to work on the follow-up, and that extra effort shows:


Cuts Like A Knife (1983)

Cuts Like A Knife
Don’t Leave Me Lonely
I’m Ready
Let Him Know
Straight From The Heart
Take Me Back
The Best Was Yet To Come
The Only One
This Time
What’s It Gonna Be

Again, Adams lets us down by titling a song “Let Him Know,” a phrase not suffering from sufficient overuse to be a true cliché, but he redeems himself through his powerful choice in album titles. Cuts Like A Knife is a brilliant masterstroke, no two ways about it, and one cannot help but marvel at the trite phrases he spins his songs around, particularly “Straight From The Heart,” which earns double points from our judges. Cuts Like A Knife scores a perfect 10 out of 10 on the Cliché-O-Meter! Never one to rest on his laurels, Adams is back just one year later with yet another triumph:


Reckless (1984)

Ain’t Gonna Cry
Heaven
It’s Only Love
Kids Wanna Rock
Long Gone
One Night Love Affair
Run To You
She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing
Somebody
Summer Of ’69

This was the masterpiece, the jewel in Adams’ career crown, that brought him to worldwide Cliché Dominance. Really, it’s flawless. The album title is that rarest of rarities — the one-word cliché. Only a true genius, in perfect command of his talent, could have come up with that. But oh, he isn’t done: He actually creates a new cliché with the title of his über-stupid smash hit, “Summer Of ’69”! Lump that in with songs like “Ain’t Gonna Cry,” or “Heaven,” or “It’s Only Love,” or:well, all of them, really:and you’ve got a classic for the ages. Cliché-O-Meter score: A stunning 12 out of 10!

In our next installment, we’ll look at the second half of Adams’ career. Be sure to tune in!