Bryan Adams – Cuts Like a Knife (1983; 2012 Audio Fidelity remaster)

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By the time Cuts Like a Knife was released in January of 1983, Bryan Adams had spent several years refining his craft. Smitten with rock and roll since elementary school, the Canadian born singer, songwriter and guitarist started playing in bands, touring and making records as a teenager.

Although Bryan chalked up a credible reputation on the live front, his first two albums, Bryan Adams and You Want It, You Got It failed to ignite much fanfare. But all that changed with his third outing — which has now been reissued in a remastered, limited-edition 24-karat gold CD format by Audio Fidelity.

Aside from featuring an avalanche of wildly catchy tunes, Cuts Like a Knife is also the record where Bryan found and established his own recognizable style and identity. Sealed tight with heaps of huge hooks and communal choruses normally reserved for sporting events, Cuts Like a Knife fastened pop elements to a hard-rocking essence with poise and presence. Bryan’s raspy, sandpaper vocals, which often recall a pleasant pairing of Rod Stewart and John Mellencamp, are an ideal match for the mode of music he performs. His sturdy lungs fill the room, cordially encouraging listeners to sing along with his infectious tunes.

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: Bryan Adams’ follow up, 1984’s ‘Reckless,’ was blue-collar rock dressed up in pop gear, producing smash hit after smash hit.]

Among the delights included on Cuts Like a Knife are the title track, “This Time,” “What’s It Gonna Be” and “The Only One.” Torched by a bluesy lick, “Take Me Back” stands as another memorable number, while “Straight From The Heart” is a convincingly impassioned power ballad. Robust arrangements, crowned with stabbing melodies and guitars that squeal and shimmer additionally benefit the material and delivery of the songs on the disc.

Arriving at a moment when new wave and synthesizer-soaked pop fluff monopolized the charts, Cuts Like a Knife offers no such sounds. Focusing strictly on gimmick-free hard edged pop rock, the album proved there will always be an audience for real music recorded by real people. And while the production is of its era, meaning it’s clean and glossy, it doesn’t stifle or smother the spirited talent behind the songs.

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Audio Fidelity released this special gold CD reissue of Bryan Adams’ Cuts Like a Knife on January 31. These numbered, limited editions will be available through both online and brick-and-mortar retailers, then will be retired after reaching 5,000 units in sales.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Beverly Paterson
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