Bryan Adams – Reckless

What is rock? It is perhaps a term that holds different meanings for different people. But if someone were to ask me what rock is, I would reply “Reckless, by Bryan Adams.” To me, Reckless represents all that is good with rock. All that is pure, and all that is strong. Reckless is about love and fun, two central themes of anyone’s life. It’s dirty, yet clean. Old, but new. Sexy, yet ugly. There are a lot of things that can be said about Reckless, but the one thing I’d like to be said about it, is that it rocks.

1 – One Night Love Affair

The story of a one night stand starts the album. He meets a girl, two strangers and thinks that it’ll just be a case of spending the night together in passion, then parting their ways. But there is an attraction between them. He tries, as she does, to pretend that there’s no attraction, that saying goodbye the next morning will be easy, but when it comes to doing it, it’s hard. They both wanted a little company and got it, but could never continue. He says goodbye and knows that he will never see her again and wonders what it could have been like. A driving bass hold the song together, while light keyboards plays on the top, but Bryan’s rough voice portrays the raw emotion of a man who scored, but lost.

2 – She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancin’

A song about a girl. She has a mundane 9 to 5 job and doesn’t have a particularly interesting week, but when Friday comes along, she has a great time. She goes to her favourite bar, ironically called “The Ball and Chain” and dances the night away. The guitar solo gives her a chance to shake her booty. In the chorus the whole gang joins in singing and adding hand claps, they too are feeling the joy that she is when she’s dancing. There’s a guy – possibly Bryan – watching her from across the dance floor, but she’s not about to let him have his way. If he wants her, he will have to earn her. But there is the feeling that she doesn’t really care about men. When she’s out on the dance floor she just lets her worries melt away. Ahhh…

3 – Run To You

The song has a dark feeling to it, which perfectly reflects the fact that in this song Bryan has been bad. A synth lurks during the verses, then erupts into the chorus. For a moment the song pauses and goes into a moody bridge, before the guitars kick back in. He has a girlfriend, but he’s getting sick of her. She’s faithful, and says she loves him, but he’s found another woman, who gives him the pleasure he desires. He has been torn between the two women, but he’s got the stage where he really wants a good time so he’s going to the other woman. If it’s good then instead of going home after the deed is done, he might stay all night. Lucky Bry.

4 – Heaven

“Honey, they’re playing our song”. Heaven is an “our song”. Unlike the infidelities of Run to you Bryan has decided that there is a woman for him, and she is all he wants. He has found love with her and she is the one for him. He’s been waiting for true love, dreamed of heavenly perfection and has finally found it. He pledges that he will be there for her, forever. The song is perfect for slow dancing.

The video to Heaven is worth noting. Bryan performs the song on a stage in a hall, as he must have done on many occasions. The thing that is interesting, is that the audience he is performing to consists of television sets with teenage girls on the screens. A flipside of the world of these girls seeing him playing on their TVs. An interesting comment on the life of a big rock star.

5 – Somebody

Sometimes life is tough. Bryan knows this and he knows that life can be a lot easier when there’s someone there to go with you, to help you along your way. There are a lot of contradictions and confusing situations in life but having a companion makes it clearer. Then one day he sees someone – someone who looks like Madonna. He realises that he needs someone like her, or maybe even her in his life. This could be interpreted as Madonna, mother of God, giving him divine guidance, or Madonna, mother of Lourdes, being his chick (back in ’84 Madonna wasn’t a mother and she used to dance around with her belly button thing happening – she was so cool). Being alone can really suck.

6 – Summer of ’69

Who doesn’t love this song? It’s the ultimate reminisce about the pleasures of being a teen. The first band fuelled on rock ‘n’ roll dreams. Then comes the first band. The feeling that she was going to be Bry’s girl forever. Hanging out with his friends, going out, being wild boys. But nothing lasts forever. All the reminiscing makes him ask “what went wrong”. How did all those dreams disappear? He might he older, but is he any wiser? Can he recapture the essence of his youth (Bryan’s latest album ’18 Till I Die’ suggests he’s trying). And then there’s the whole ’69 thing – just what went on down at the drive in?

7 – Kids Wanna Rock

This songs sums up the albums feeling of rock: “Turned on the radio, sounded like a disco”. Dance music might have appeal to some, but Bryan knows what the youth of the world want. Forget about programming those synthesisers, the only pure comes from a pure guitar, plugged in and turned out up. Hear the voice of youth screaming out! Rock ‘n’ roll will never die as long as Bry’s around.

8 – It’s Only Love

And he continues to rock. This time enlisting the help of the powerful voice of Tina Turner. This song is a song for survivors. People who have been there and been walked over, kicked in the head and been shattered – all in the name of love. They both passionately tell the trouble person, don’t worry, it’s only love. Don’t make things so bad because there’s no need for them to be. The searing guitar solo kicks in and provides more relief for a broken heart. The message is, take those feelings and turn them around.

9 – Long Gone

D-i-v-o-r-c-e. Sometimes the perfect relationship turns sour. The woman of his dreams turns into an evil devil woman and she don’t want him no more. She’s taken all the good stuff, leaving him with the clothes he’s wearing. He wants her to know that even though she didn’t like him, he still had strong, true feelings for her. But he knows that she might have all his possessions, but she doesn’t have him.

10 – Ain’t Gonna Cry

Those devil women – he just can’t get rid of ’em. This woman comes along and she’s just no good for him. She said she’d wait forever, but she’s turned out to be bad news. He wants to get away from her so badly that he’s even changed his phone number. She might want him, but he’s strong enough to tell her to get lost, even threatening to rearrange her face if she tries to get close. The song abruptly ends then a voice “A one, a two, a one, two, three”, like the voice of god, can be heard before the song restarts and ends in an eruption of noise. The final sound is a scream.

But above all, I recommend going out, getting the album and listening to it at a loud volume and feeling the power of Bryan Adams rockin’ real hard.

Why I Don’t Drink Coffee

“People that don’t drink coffee are weird.”

– From “The Perfect Cup of Cofee” by Alexis Massie.

When I go to someone’s house and they say to me “Would you like a cup of coffee?” I say “No, thanks” (although sometimes I don’t even say thanks. It’s like if someone offered to bash me over the head I wouldn’t say “No, thanks”.) Then the person has a little trouble comprehending that I don’t want a drink and has to ask “Are you sure?” like maybe I’m playing mind games with them. I then have to make the statement “No, I don’t drink coffee”.

My parents always drank coffee, and I assumed that when I grew up that I would too. But now than I’m an adult, I don’t. It’s not like I never drink it at all. The Planet Espresso thing at the Bongo Bar at Waikato Uni makes a very lovely hazelnut latte and I love it and if it were a person I would be its love slave forever.

What I don’t do is consume coffee on a daily basis. When I wake up I don’t think “coffee!!!”. I usually head for the shower.

I’ve been asking around to find out why people are so fanatical about coffee. The answer I got from a lot of people is “caffeine!!!”. This is what caffeine does to me. Because I don’t drink a lot of coffee, one cup of coffee makes me freak out. I get really restless and need constant stimulation. Then I can’t get to sleep and end up lying in bed at 7.00am still trying to sleep, hating myself for having for not being able to get to sleep.

The other reason people have given for liking coffee is the taste. I’ll agree to that, but there are lots of things I like the flavour of and I don’t eat/drink them every day.

I think a lot of people who drink coffee are like psychologically addicted to it. Ok, I don’t know much about psychological addiction, but it sounds good. My parents have several cups of decaffeinated a day. My mother says it’s not coffee, rather than a “hot drink” that keeps her doing it. Well how come I can get by in life without several “hot drinks” a day?

Do I have some gene missing that makes me not have to head off to the kitchen every few hours to make a cup of coffee?

It’s not like I don’t drink caffeinated beverages at all. I enjoy Mountain Dew, but when I drink a can of Mountain Dew I don’t exclaim “CAFFEINE!” before drinking it. I don’t understand the need for caffeine either. Like it would help me stay awake longer so I can sitting around doing nothing for longer? When you feel tired it is your body telling you that it needs sleep, not that you should stay awake longer.

So I don’t drink coffee. I do not own any form of coffee. If you come over to see me, I will not make you a cup of coffee. If you ask me for a cup of coffee you will not get one. And I’m happy like that.

My Parents’ Record Collection

My first purchase of a recorded piece of music was a compilation tape called “The Hit Zone”. I was 10 years old and I only bought it because it has “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News on it. Sadly the tape broke a few months later due to it being left unprotected and getting dust and stuff inside it. This has since taught me that tapes, records and CDs come in protective cases for a reason.

But before I started buying my own music. I got my musical thrills partly from my parents record collection. The record collection was definitely part of my childhood and has shaped me and made me the person I am today. A bit.

Before my parents got married they both had their own record collections. My father had a variety of records including classical and those James Last records that people are getting into at the moment. He had a method of cataloguing them with little labels that were numbered. My mother had no cataloguing system. When they got married and combined their records the one record that was doubled was the soundtrack to the film “Dr Zhivago”.

My parents belonged the World Record Club, which, in the late seventies, sent out complimentary records. This is supposedly the origin of musical masterpieces by such respected artists as Rolf Harris, Nana Mouskouri and a personal favourite “Non-stop Party Hits”. It is also the origin of the album that everyone’s parents has, “Hot August Night”, by Neil Diamond.

Here’s a list of the best and the most distinctive albums in my parents record collection.

Victor Borge – Caught in the Act
Nimble-fingered Vic goes off.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Soundtrack
It’s a cool movie and Henry Mancini’s score is good.

Neil Diamond – Hot August Night
Everyone’s parents has this. A classic.

Dick Hyman – Moog
Scary moog music, best song title “The Legend of Johnny Pot”. Also, this guy has a very scary name.

Hair – Soundtrack
I got into this when I was about 13. It is a very cool musical.

High Society – Soundtrack
“Well Did You Evah!” I haven’t actually listened to it, but the cover, with Bing, Grace and Frank, haunts me…

The Geisha – Feilding Community Players
This is a record of a musical my mother was in in 1960. She was one of the four Tea Girls.

Gilbert and Sullivan – The Mikado
I haven’t heard it but the cover is cool.

Golden Hour of Best Loved Fairy Stories – Famous people
Like Laurence Olivier and Roger Moore. I used to get so frightened when I heard Roger’s reading of Snow White.

Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant
I used to laugh at the cover photo, but one day I listened to it and yeah, it’s good!

Rolf Harris – All Together Now
I just don’t dig this.

Francis Lai – A Man and a Woman
Un Homme et un Femme. I haven’t listened to it, but it has a cool cover.

James Last – Trumpet A Go Go
Very cool. Impresses some people.

Nana Mouskouri – The Magic of
“Ypomoni” rocks the house

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells
This is a bit of a classic Parents Record Collection album. Warning on the back “This stereo record can not be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it into the nearest police station”.

Music for the Millions – I don’t know…
Cute cats on the cover, and Bach’s classic “Happy Am I, That I Possess Jesus”.

Bobby Richards Orchestra – Great Film Themes III
There’s a cool Manhattan skyline at sunset on the cover.

The Seekers – Seen in Green
Psychedelic squares.

Simon and Garfunkel – The Graduate
An excellent movie with a great soundtrack.

Tchaikovsky – 1812 Overture
The one with the big bangs in it. I haven’t listened to this.