Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Jimm Derby
Generic power pop, typical 80’s production, energetic singing, poor man’s Bruce Springsteen. That would about sum it up in one sentence if you were brutally honest, bordering on cynical.
The hits were “Run to You”, an energetic rocker where he makes full use of his voice, “Heaven”, a power ballad, “Summer of ’69”, another energetic rocker and “It’s Only Love”, a duet with Tina Turner. Although (or because) they are very familiar, they sound quite good as songs: they’re all nice pop songs on the rocky side and Tina’s voice mixes very nicely with Bryan’s.
And some other songs are nice as well: “She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’” could have been a heavy Huey Lewis and the News song, and I can easily visualize it with a ZZ Top style video clip. “Ain’t gonna cry” somehow reminds me of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out (the album, that is).
The 30th anniversary/Deluxe edition adds 7 bonus tracks of which “Reckless” (the title song that apparently never made it on to the original album), “Let Me Down Easy” and “Teacher, Teacher”, stand out somewhat. Also, a disc with 15 live tracks from 1985 is added.
Hooks-wise Brian’s not in Keith Richards territory (although Keith was having a rough decade or two at the time), but Bryan sure makes up for it in energy. I actually like his voice quite a lot, but paradoxically only in small doses, as it’s a bit one-dimensional: he sounds nice, but he really has only one way of singing.
Worst thing about the record as a whole is the terrible production style: booming drums, simple (very basic) bass work, no subtlety AT ALL and a very synthetic compressed sound. This may have been fashion at the time, or perhaps it has something to do with learning to “master” new cd technology with its higher dynamics. Another thing is that it’s rather monotonous: apart from the one ballad, all songs are rockers, mostly at the same speed.
It makes for rather tiring, headache inducing listening 30 years later. But I can easily imagine a remake in a more acoustic setting with sympathetic production that gives the instruments room to breathe. That would do his voice full justice.