Review By: Alan Holloway
Back in the day (yeah, yeah… shut up gramps) I used to be quite the fan of Bryan Adams. For me, his creative output peaked with the mature, heavy and accessible ‘Into The Fire’, although I’ll happily admit to liking the cookie cutter fun rock of ‘Waking Up the Neighbours’, where Mutt Lange tried to make him sound like every other band he’s produced but at least included some lively, enjoyable tracks (with Vallance hanging in for two of the best). Basically, I think Bryan Adams started on his downhill course when he stopped working with Jim Vallance, so when I learned that this new album saw the return of Vallance to the Adams camp I was actually looking forward to hearing a new Bryan Adams album. Weird…
Since then, Adams has been one of those artists that releases a ton of middle of the road stuff with a handful of tracks that remind you of what he once was. ‘Get Up’ is yet another mixed bad, unfortunately, but at least it has some promise contained within. So let’s start with the good: it has some good tracks on it. No great tracks, not really, but certainly some that will perk you up, like the upbeat, catchy ‘You Belong To Me’ or album closer and standout track ‘Brand new Day’. The last, more than any other, really brings to mind classic Adams and deserves to be a hit. There’s songs straight out of the Rock Cliché handbook, like ‘Go Down Rocking’ and ‘Thunderbolt’, and of course there’s ballads, none of which have a tenth of the passion of the likes of ‘Heaven’ or ‘Rebel’. To be completely honest, you get nine new tracks, about six of which are worth the price of admission.
So we come to the not so good. Tacked on the end of the album are acoustic versions of four of the previous tracks, about as pointless as Rob Halford’s hairdresser. Without these, the nine tracks that really form the album give you a mere 25 minutes of entertainment. Okay, there have been great short albums in the past, but this doesn’t even fill out that short time in a memorable way. The addition of the covers seems to be an artist who’s run out of songs and is on a deadline. The final bit of not so good is Adams’ vocals. Now don’t get me wrong he can still carry a raspy tune, but there is no real passion anywhere to be seen. It’s probably just age, but I don’t think Adams could convince me any more that the kids wanted to rock.
So whilst the return of Vallance has added definite value, and the production by Jeff Lynne is clear and bouncy, ‘Get Up’ ultimately falls down. There’s five or six songs that old time fans can take to their hearts, plus some dull ones and some pointless acoustic covers. Make of that what you will, but don’t expect another ‘Reckless’ because you’ll be sorely disappointed.