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album review | ROCK

Bryan Adams, ‘Get Up’

Bryan Adams, son of a Canadian diplomat who took his family to posts in Portugal, Austria, and Israel, has always been smarter than he seemed, yet he’s often settled for simple, unchallenging rock ‘n’ roll. Now 55, Adams views “Get Up” as a follow-up to his 1984 bestseller, “Reckless,” which yielded the hits “Summer of ’69” and “Run to You” — but that’s just wishful thinking. Adams starts promisingly with the rockabilly-etched “You Belong to Me” and mission statement “Go Down Rockin’ ” (”I ain’t gonna slow down/ I’m gonna go down rockin’ ”). But things flatten out with the repetitive “Do What You Gotta Do” and the embarrassing “Thunderbolt,” and producer Jeff Lynne, from ELO and the Traveling Wilburys, weighs the album down with cloyingly sweet, pop-drenched arrangements. Last year Adams released a photo book, “Wounded — The Legacy of War,” featuring his portraits of injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why can’t some of that serious side find its way into his songwriting?

STEVE MORSE

Essential “You Belong to Me”

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Bryan Adams performs at the Orpheum Theatre Feb. 13.


Steve Morse can be reached at spmorse@gmail.com.