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Damn Sam, Modern Classic Alert,
This review is from: Heartbreaker (Audio CD)
I've often wondered what it would be like to have been around at the time when some of the accepted great albums of all time had come out - say 'Revolver', 'Blood On The Tracks', 'Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders of Mars'. I've wondered what those albums would have meant to me at the time of their release, if the potency they have now has diminished over time or whether it is just the same.
With 'Heartbreaker' I think I may have found out what it feels like to be there at the birth of one of the 'classics'. Because, hand on heart, this is just that. A genuinely superb record that is more emotionally expressive now I have returned to it as I remember it being first time around.
So, you may ask, what are the qualities that make it so good. And that is certainly a pertinent question. Dozens and dozens of records have been made with similar intent, detailing the dead-end feelings of a breaking/broken relationship, but very few reach the stellar heights of this. But why; it is quite a simple record, not much more complex than guitar, bass, drums and the odd bit of piano and harmonica. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Adams's voice is expressive but nothing extraordinary in itself.
What does that leave us with? Well, it leaves us with the one thing that makes or breaks an album beyond quirks and novelties and that is simply incredibly good songs. Aside from the breezy opener 'To Be Young (is to be sad, is to be high)', the tone is one of spiritual and emotional depletion beginning in earnest with the breathtakingingly beautiful 'My Winding Wheel'.
From there the emotional odyssey travels through pining for home ('Oh My Sweet Carolina'), pining for a hurtful girlfriend ('Come Pick Me Up), pining for a girl that's left you ('Why Do They Leave') and general pining ('Damn Sam, I Love A Woman That Rains). Each of these tracks is as perfect an example of songwriting as can be envisaged, the theme it is attempting to evoke is there before you, clear as day, and it is, well, plain heartbreaking.
Subsequent releases, 'Gold' and 'Demolition' have been quality records but when I am honest with myself I have to doubt that Adams will ever create anything as beautiful, transcendental and lasting as this in his career. Having felt the shivers run down me on re-listening to this it seems obvious to me that real classics have an undiminishable impact as time wears on, I can't help but feel in twenty years time the feeling will be the same.
Timeless and peerless.