Take Me In

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Bryan Adams kept pretty quiet in the late 2000s, but judging by VanVelzen's Take Me In, you'd think he remained the unchallengeable pop force he was in 1991. The 2009 record by the Dutch singer/songwriter is a stab at power pop in general, but it plays like an homage to Adams, down to the slightly raspy vocals, although, admittedly, devoid of sweet and sappy ballads. The vocals are actually the main point of resemblance, but the general similarities are undeniable, too -- these are midtempo radio rock songs with big choruses, all bombastic and sincere and dealing with love, of course, without any irony or, indeed, shame for being so blatantly romantic. Sometimes the music veers closer to the likes of Tinted Windows, but basically, it is the same fare that Adams has been propagating all his life -- larger-than-life songs best fit for a summertime drive down a 100-mile-long highway, or a rowdy teen party like they have in old Hollywood movies. The thing is, there is plenty of this stuff left from the early '90s, and the music has moved on to other things since. Of course, resurrecting a style is always a noble quest, but VanVelzen offers literally no update to the sound he reproduces, which leaves him to compete with his mentors on a single ground: hook size. Short story is, he loses, though this is an honorable defeat: the songs are not earworms of power pop greats, but they are fun while they play. The point whether anyone really needs a nice but watered-down copy of yesteryear's hot thing remains debatable.

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