Bryan Adams is aging well. At 63, he still has the energy and passion to release in March 2022 a new album, his 15th studio recording, So Happy It Hurts — which he’s also promoting with a tour whose Philippine date is March 15 at the Araneta Coliseum.
The album captures the Canadian rock star reemerging from the pandemic. Most of the tracks feature him playing multiple instruments since he recorded them at a time when everyone couldn’t go out of their homes due to Covid-19 protocols.
He told Rock Cellar Magazine: “The only thing that’s different on this record compared to previous albums is I couldn’t perform it with my band. I had to find another way. And so, what I was doing was recording all the instruments myself, one by one, and trying to create the feeling of a band — and in the meantime, perhaps this is one of the reasons the record is quite joyous. I had such a good time doing it. It was really fun to try and live my lifelong dream of being a drummer and then structuring each piece of the record one-by-one until it sounded like a song or it sounded like an album.”
Listening to the album on Spotify triggers memories of college days in the gloomy early 1980s tripping on two Adams albums, 1983’s Cuts Like a Knife, and 1984’s Reckless — examples of a pop-friendly type of rock, powered by the guitar but with simple lyrics (“Summer of ’69), and whose ballads (“Straight from the Heart,” “Heaven,” “Cuts Like a Knife”) appealed to many women.
So Happy It Hurts is upbeat and brims with optimism — the themes of joy and warm disposition surging in the title track, as well as in “Never Gonna Rain,” “You Lift Me Up,” among other tracks.
Two cuts pique the serious music fan’s curiosity: the country-tinged “I’ve Been Looking for You,” and the slow reggae in “Always Have, Always Will.”
The rest can likewise perk up the mood and, in the case of Gen Z kids not familiar with Adams, perhaps stir enough interest to backtrack through his catalogue.
But who doesn’t know Bryan Adams? A young couple I know not even in their 40s are eager to watch the Big Dome concert. Which got me thinking: Do any of Adams’ songs figure in their relationship?
The woman happens to be the only daughter and youngest child of a friend, who used to run a popular jazz joint and is well-versed in all music genres. Did my friend influence his daughter’s musical taste?
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see the audience demographics at the show.