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BRYAN ADAMS: “Waking Up the Neighbours”, <i> A&M;</i>

Canada’s American-as-apple-pie rock ‘n’ roller will have only his own zealous quest for perfection to blame if his sixth album doesn’t cut like a knife through the chart competition.

In the four years he has spent meticulously crafting “Waking Up the Neighbours,” a rollicking, overwhelmingly tuneful album bursting with classic rock choruses, the profile of popular music has shifted subtly yet significantly. Almost gone from the top of the charts are such straightforward, good-natured rock acts as Huey Lewis and Corey Hart--and Adams--replaced in part by such dance-rock hybrids as Jesus Jones and EMF.

Adams is likely to buck the trend, given his album’s resoundingly high quality and its anomalous inclusion of the ballad "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” the No. 1 hit from “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Still, such an other-era feel permeates the record that one can almost imagine it immediately being added to the playlists of classic rock stations across the country.

“Is Your Mama Gonna Miss Ya?” and “Touch the Hand” recall the late-'70s radio staples of Bob Seger, while the dynamic “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started,” with an intro lifted straight from “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” sounds as familiar as the doorbell.

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I have heard the past of rock ‘n’ roll, and it is “Waking Up the Neighbours.” But it sure sounds good.

Rating: * * *


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