REVIEW: Bryan Adams – So Happy It Hurts

I listened to the new Bryan Adams record. Actually, no, I didn’t. I listened to half of one song, the single from the album sharing its name. I can’t bring myself to type it again. You know that feeling you get when you’re so joyous that you are in pain? Yeah, nobody has ever shared that feeling. This song is worse even than its cousin, John ‘Cougar’ Mellencamp’s “Hurts So Good.” That one was at least about…well, let’s move on.

You might know Mr. Adams as the perpetrator of the song ‘Summer of ’69.’ I always thought this song was an autobiographical reminiscence with some not too subtle salaciousness. (‘We were young and restless/ We needed to unwind’ etc.). ‘Summer of ‘68’ can give you the same meter and, arguably, access to a better universe of rhymes. But, a quick Wikipedia search reveals that Mr. Adams was ten years old in 1969. Either young Bryan was quite precocious, or the song is even worse than I thought it was.


As an aside, speaking of songs with ‘1969’ in them for no good reason, perhaps the worst rock song, the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ has the dumbest lyric ever: “So I called up the Captain/ ‘Please bring me my wine’/ He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969’.” First, wine is not a spirit; a spirit is distilled. Second, California is known for its wines so it seems odd that any decent hotel, let alone a clumsily allegorical California one, would be out of it. Third, some motherfucker just two stanzas later managed to procure some pink champagne on ice.

I should also clarify that I watched half of the video of the new Bryan Adams song on YouTube. It’s a disaster; I don’t recommend watching it unless you would like to see what appear to be 12- year old cheerleaders dancing in the back of a moving convertible, no seatbelts, with Mr. Adams at the helm. I wish I was making this up.


Why did I choose this assignment? Because, Mr. Adams is Canadian. We don’t think enough about Canadian bands at least here in the U.S.A. Sure, we all know that Neil Young (a divinity) is Canadian. As is Drake (meh). And Rush (good drummer). But, God forbid that people anywhere think that Mr. Adams is representative of Canadian music. That would be a joke. Which reminds me: How do you keep Canadian bacon from curling in the pan? You take away their little brooms.

So, I made a playlist. It’s on Spotify; sorry, I buy a lot of tickets and merch to assuage my guilt. It includes the truly epic Toronto hardcore of Fucked Up. The lilting reggae pop of Bedouin Soundclash. A song from last year’s cleopatrick album, an Ontario twosome making an unholy, beautiful racket. Sweatshop Union, a Vancouver hip-hop collective with intense soul. Mecca Normal, laying the groundwork for riotgrrrl.


It moves to Carly Rae Jepsen, because that song is a banger. Wolf Parade, sounding so English. The weird and wonderful Destroyer, aka Dan Bejar, who has also written and performed some of The New Pornographers’ best songs. Fellow Vancouver band The Courtneys, catching you between tapping your toes and tossing your head. The angular groove of Toronto’s Tokyo Police Club. The sublime Dream Warriors, holding their own with Gang Starr. It all kicks off with the goofy, stupid charm of ‘Oh…Canada.’

And, of course, closes with Canada’s only true royalty: Queen Alanis.

What album was I reviewing again?

Words by Rick Larson

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