Canadian soft-rock icon Bryan Adams has been a household name for the best part of three decades now, and is now on his (yes, you guessed it) 11th studio album. 11 sound as you would expect any Bryan Adams album to sound with his recognisable vocals, characteristic rock guitar and familiar song-writing style. Unfortunately the imagination gone into this album, both musically and lyrically, is at about the same level as the title. With song titles such as Broken Wings, Somethin' to Believe In, Mysterious Ways and Walk On By, one glance at the track list and you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a cover album. And the lyrics follow the same pattern. It feels painfully as if he's spent hours trawling the internet in search of lyrics used so often that no-one could possibly accuse him of plagiarism. Honestly, he should be given some sort of prize for the most clichés crammed into one album.
But Bryan Adams never won fans for his way with words. After all, "Everything I do, I do it for you" didn't earn him 16 weeks at number one back in 1991 for its lyrical grace and profound philosophical insight. And so, it's a shame that among the 12 classic rock tunes here, there is not one with the charisma and memorability of past glories like "Summer of '69" and "When You're Gone". The musical highpoint is Teese Gohl's soulful string arrangement on Mysterious Ways, creating depth in an otherwise predictable song. The low point arrives on Somethin' to Believe In with the cringe-worthy "short silence followed by forced key change" in true Westlife fashion.
In short, the only surprising thing about this album is the extent to which you've heard it all before.