I'm generally not very comfortable writing English album reviews coz I’ve often heard my friends comment that I have neither the heart ror the soul of a rocker..(To be read as: I'm way too shallow) But still there are a few people whose music forces me to venture into this dangerous territory called reviewing..Bruce Springstein is one... Bryan Adams is definitely another but since i know lotsa BA fans who could write better, I had thankfully stayed away.. But its been a week now since Room Service was released and since I've seen no reviews, I thought I would give it a shot.
Coming to the album itself, as most of you might be aware this is a collection of songs that BA and his team wrote at hotel rooms on some of their famous world tours. The credits are all mentioned in the cover and thats probably just about the most interesting thing the whole album has to offer. Maybe I am being a little harsh here and coming from a die-hard BA fan, it might even sound astonishing - But the fact remains that its been almost 3 years since his last album came out and I, for one, was expecting something different.
As far as songwriting skills are concerned, Room Service is disappointing. Its the same tried-and-tested formulaic lovey dovey material sans stupid phrases these boybands dish out like 'baby" "oh yeah" "give it to me" "dig you"...Well, almost.. there are a few occurences of those words but i guess you can't do without them..Room Service had so much going for it since it gave BA a chance to view the world from different places - the premise of being in Berlin, Dublin, Paris, Madrid, Prague could have spurred BA to write on more serious issues like culture, politics but unfortunately he steers clear of such sensitive issues (unike Bruce Springstein) and takes the safer route.
But if one can get over this slight complaint, then the album has lots to offer to traditional BA fans - mournful slow rock, sentimental love ballads, compelling feel-good tracks and the odd poppish number..all delivered in that typical inimitable rasping gravel tone...
Summing up, while opinion is divided as to where this album would rate amongst BAs previous attempts, I am of the firm view that Room Service is strictly “middle of the road” stuff.
ps: Pardon me if there isn't much of a description to each song. I will probably just stick to mentioning what I personally liked in each song, showcase my favorite lines and leave it to you to experience it and make your own decision.
East Side Story (3:22) - 9/10
Rollicking fast-paced number to kick start the album ..Being an insufferable romantic myself, "buses" bring back a million memories and hence could totally identify with this song :-) Some of the coolest (a little inane too but who cares) lyrics in a BA song I have heard for a looong looong time..
Some things you hold on to - some you just let go
Seems like the ones that you can't have
Are the ones that you want most
I think about her sometimes - I wonder if she was real
And if I ever find her I'm gonna tell her how I feel
It's just another east side story
This Side of Paradise (3:50) - 8/10
Watch out for the guitar strumming at the start...Keith Scott and Mike Curry add that extra zing to this number leaving one humming the tune long after the song is over...
There ain't no crystal ball - there ain't no santa claus
There ain't no fairy tales
There ain't no streets of gold
There ain't no chosen few - ya it's just me and you
And that's all we got ya...that's all we got to hold on to
Ya this side of paradise
Not Romeo Not Juliet (3:34) - 5/10
Crapppy...Baby and Babe..and words to rhyme at the end of lines makes me believe that BA was forced to write this song at gunpoint by the Milan Maffioso..Highly avoidable...
Flyin'(4:04) - 6/10
Loads of mush thrown in for the die-hard romantics..A number which reminds me of "All for One" - that collaborated effort with Rod Stewart - Tiring lyrics and some uninspired singing had me reaching out for the FF button - the piano accompaniment being the sole saving grace.
She's a little too good for me (2:37) - 8.5/10
The guitars are back in form and the vocals rock... this one is more like the BA I knew and loved..Reflecting on relationships. this is a self deprecatory number that is sure to strike a chord with most people :D - My only complaint with this number is its very short length...
Open Road (3:30) - 7/10
First bit of philosophical lyrics and the album is already 6 tracks old.. Neway tis better late than never...Nice rhythm to the song makes it a great hear on a car stereo...
Life is an open road - it's the best story never told
It's an endless sky - it's the deepest sea
Room Service (2:53) - 6.5/10
This number is about life on the fast lane.. Moving in and out of hotels and living out of suitcases..A very average BA song that is thankfully over as soon as one just starts to tire of the metaphors ...
I was only Dreamin'(2:30) - 8/10
One of the softer songs in the album, a very typical BA kinda with high pitched vocals and nice strings arrangements - one of the better attempts in the album unfortunately a little too short for my liking..
Right back where I started from (3:41) - 7/10
Excellent guitar work elevates the song beyond mediocrity but its still a far cry from some of his really rocking' guitar classics...Lyrics lean more towards the looking-back types..
Nowhere Fast (3:48) - 7/10
Another slow rock number - neat sensible lyrics coupled with a singing that seems to come straight-from-the-heart contribute immensely to making this track likeable even at first hear.
Why do you have to be so hard to love (2:58) - 7.5/10
Yet another ballad...and for the sentimentalists this is the number to watch out for..A song that grows on you on repeated hear...
It's so easy to touch you - but so hard to let go
It's so easy to want you - that I can't get enough
Tell me why do ya have to be
Why do ya have to be so hard to love