Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Bryan Adams: Reckless [A&M, 1985]
The megabuck stops here. Maybe I'll let Bruce Springsteen teach me how to hear John Cougar Mellencamp, but damned if I'm going to let John Cougar Mellencamp teach me how to hear Bryan Adams. From antipunkdiscowave strut to Flashdance homage, he's a generic American hunk, only whiter because he's Canadian. Where Sammy Hagar flaunts his anticommunism and Don Henley flaunts his mouth, Adams flaunts nothing more and nothing less than his young reliable bod. Like all the above-mentioned good and bad he shares a mysterious nostalgia for the recent past with a lot of people who aren't half dead yet, at least chronologically. And more than any of them he has real problems relaxing, which puts him square in the soul-as-will-and-idea tradition of Lou Gramm, Pat Boone, Sophie Tucker, and so many others. C-