Sound — 7
Bryan Adams was a superstar extraordinaire when his MTV Unplugged record hit shelves in late 1997. Following the unplugged format of many artists before him, Adams went for a rootsier take on his massive chart toppers, most successfully "Cuts Like A Knife" and "18 Til I Die". The musicianship is well rounded, with instruments such as the mandolin brought in to balance out the standard electric-band-gone-acoustic feel of countless unplugged-style records. The music holds it's own amongst a sea of sappy acoustic ballads and cheap crowd pleasers, with Adams often ditching his rock n' roll persona for a sensitive singer/songwriter mask. It works 95% of the time, but the rest of the record is a bore.
Lyrics — 9
Bryan Adams has always had a strong sense of lyrical prose, and his ability to write love songs are unparalleled. Seeing as this record offered nothing but past hits, most of the lyrics I had already heard. The stark accompaniment of songs such as "Heaven" really turned me on, especially since the song was originally produced in a dated-1980s fashion (you know, synths & drum machines & the like). His raspy tenor cuts through the chimes of his acoustic guitar, giving the record a pleasurable live feel.
Overall Impression — 7
Bryan Adams' MTV Unplugged is not required listening, but it is worth hearing if you're a devout Adams fan or just a fan of acoustic music in general. Certain songs (Summer of 69, Cuts Like a Knife, I'm Ready, and Back To You) really lend themselves to the acoustic delivery, while others (mainly A Little Love and When You Love Someone) should have been left off the CD. A surprising treat for the listener would definately be the blues jam that punctuates "If Ya Wanna Be Bad - Ya Gotta Be Good". The song is a breath of fresh air compared to the rest of the album, and it proved that Adams could still bring down a house. All in all, Bryan Adams MTV Unplugged is the kind of album that should be played and enjoyed at backyard barbeques, but not necessarily played anywhere else.