Celebrate Bryan Adams's 50th Birthday with His 10 Most Ridiculous Songs

Happy 50th Birthday to Bryan Adams! Why it seems like only yester-decade that he took the music scene by storm with his dulcet Canadian ballads. In order to pay tribute to an unforgettable half-century of Bryan Adams and better understand his invaluable musical contributions, I feel it’s only fitting to countdown his ten most ridiculous songs.

10. “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started” (1991)

When I first watched this video, my initial reaction was that it is quintessential 80s, jam packed with all of the eighties MTV clich├ęs, stopping just short of dancing Robert Palmer girls. Then I realized it was released in 1991 and it made sense: Bryan Adams is timeless. By which I might actually mean that he is way behind on the trends. So long as he’s making videos like this one well past their expiration, I don’t care. And just when I thought the video couldn’t get any funnier, Adams appears riding a giant guitar like a bucking bronco. I honestly hope that’s how he’s celebrating his big 50th; that’s how I intend to picture it anyway.

9. “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (1991)

No single song defines Bryan Adams’s career quite like this obnoxious ballad. It wouldn’t be nearly as offensive if it were half as long; its full version is six and a half minutes long: that’s not a song, that’s a vanity project. Or something by Meat Loaf. Same difference. Packaged with excessive instrumentation and repetitive lyrics, it’s clear that Adams wanted to create nothing short of epic. Just when you think the song can’t possibly crescendo anymore, he takes it to even further, though wholly unnecessary, heights. I’ll admit, I cry a little bit each time I hear the song, but it’s only because it reminds me that I actually sat all the way through Prince of Thieves.

8. “When You’re Gone” w/ Melanie C (1998)

Adams established enough of a name for himself to record some duets with some pretty big names: Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, and Barbra Streisand. It doesn’t much matter that none of the songs were good, it was a status symbol in a lot of ways. That’s why if I were Adams’s manager, I would probably caution him against recording a song with Melanie C, a woman who more than a decade later is still best known as Sporty Spice. Still, I stop short of calling this song a mistake. The real mistake was in 2005 when he rerecorded the song for his greatest hits album with Pamela Anderson. The woman is known for a lot of things, well, two mainly, but her voice isn’t one of them. It’s as if Adams asked himself, “What is the one thing I can do to make this song even worse?” He even tried releasing the second recording with the former Mrs. Lee to radio, but it didn’t catch on for reasons I can only imagine. I have scoured the internet for the track, but have turned up unsuccessful. If anyone can find me a copy, I’d appreciate it, even if my ears wouldn’t.

7. “Let Me Take You Dancing” (1979)

There’s no music video for this little-known song, but it is Bryan Adams first single ever, recorded when he was just eighteen. In order to turn it into a disco hit, the track was sped up, giving Adams’s vocals a nice chipmunk effect. That, or puberty hadn’t set in. It’s easy to hear why even Adams would attempt to distance himself from this part of his career, yet all the better to bring back out on his birthday to roast him with.

6. “18 ’Til I Die” (1997)

The video was shot shortly after the release of Independence Day and its influence is apparent. Adams wishes he wrote the theme song to that one. On that note, it’s been a funny career trajectory for Adams. He peaked in the early 90s as an adult contemporary superstar, a role usually played by men who qualify for senior discounts and then later tried to backtrack and reclaim his youth with misguided “cool” “rock” (both in quotation marks) songs. This approach alienated his devoted mom following and this song made his laughable transformation transparent.

5. Let’s Make a Night to Remember (1996)

If the video is any indication, Adams has a thing for coke whores. With the ladies he’s touching, the night certainly won’t be hard to remember, given that gonorrhea is a nice permanent reminder. I know it’s a difficult task to pick the worst of Adams’s lyrics in a sea of pure cheese and sexual innuendos, but I’m going to nominate this song as the worst offender. “Let’s make out/Let’s do something amazing/Let’s do something that’s all the way/’Cause I’ve never touched somebody/Like the way I’ve touched your body/Now I never want to let your body go/Let’s make a night to remember/From January to December…” Really? Does that work on anyone but coke whores?

4. “All For Love” w/ Rod Stewart & Sting (1993)

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Forget the song for a moment: the “unscripted” banter between the stars at the beginning of the video is ridiculous in itself. Having already made a fortune from “Everything I Do,” Adams then mined for gold in the same spot by writing the theme for yet another historical fiction flick featuring tights and vigilantism, The Three Musketeers. He took the Musketeers’s motto and added a twist: “All for one and one for all all for love!” You’ve got to throw “love” in there somehow to appeal to the forty-something mom crowd. Not that the moms weren’t already creaming their pants – with a trio like Adams, Rod Stewart, and Sting, there was something for every mom. Just one of these men single-handedly can perform a ridiculous song, so with their powers and harmonies combined, they were an unstoppably ridiculous force.

3. “Summer of ‘69” (1985)”

In addition to the fact that Adams would have only been nine-years-old during the summer of ’69, this song is just a little too genital tongue in cheek not to be referencing oral sex. Adams’s lyrics take us through his sexual initiation starting with masturbation (“played it til my fingers bled”), failed conquests (“real hard… shoulda know we’d never get far”), and finally getting down to business (“we were young and restless and needed to unwind”). I’ll even give him credit for being somewhat clever with the line “Ain’t no use in complaining when you got a job to do.” Hmm, what sort of job?! The only people more ridiculous than Adams are the people who adopt this song as a pure anthem for growing up in small-town America; there should be no mistaking when he blatantly screams at the song’s conclusion, “Me and my baby in 69!”

2. “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” (1995)

The song in which Adams questions his sexuality. “Have you ever really, really, really, ever loved a woman?” sounds like a question from someone who protests too much. Regardless of what he was going through here on a personal level, Adams returned to his tried-and-true formula of writing a light, saccharine love song for a movie. Look, I’m not calling him a sell-out; I’d only feel comfortable saying that if he had a respectable music career otherwise. This is Adams’s shtick. As for this video, it’s all sorts of awkward. but it does answer the question, “What happens when you go to a Mexican bar frequented by old men, give them masks and a free round of tequila, and tell them to act more sexually attracted to Bryan Adams than the few models we slipped in to spice up the shoot?”

1. “The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is You” (1996)

Even if the title weren’t so unbearably long, it’s just plain unbearable. It’s a pick-up line that doesn’t seem possible to say with a straight face, let alone sing it. Go ahead, I dare you to try it at a bar; it’ll probably score you a free drink… splashed in your face. Adams even seems to acknowledge that this song is crap by sitting on a toilet throughout the music video. Someone should warn the hyper-sexualized unattractive extras in this video that either Adams is trying to have sex with them or skin them alive to wear as coats. I’m not sure which would be worse.

Again, well wishes to Bryan Adams! Some say 50, but I say he’s 18 until he dies! And here’s hoping he’ll actually make it to 51! (I’m looking at you, Michael Jackson.)


Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha.. it was so funny! I couldn't stop laughing while reading this post... freaking hilarious! Good job!

Anonymous said...

Prince of Thieves was a great movie. If you disagree then I suggest you get your head examined, and also look into having a new (good) sense of taste transplanted into the sad thing you laughingly call your brain.