So I’m in the car the other day after a long hike, riding home with some people I know from Barcelona. I jokingly ask if they have any Bryan Adams to make the ride home more interesting. We all laugh at the prospect of listening to Canada’s greatest export, but two minutes later I hear the opening notes of Summer of ’69 on an acoustic guitar. Turns out they had the Bryan Adams Unplugged album on CD. Who knew that he had an Unplugged album?!?
Firstly, I am a Bryan Adams apologist. I loved “Everything I Do, I Do It for You”. I really loved “Heaven.” (Let’s be honest though, that song with Rod Stewart and Sting really sucked). His songs are poppy and corny, but if they catch you at just the right moment they can mean a little more than they should. Needless to say, hearing Bryan Adams on a sunny, warm afternoon after a long hike was awesome. Let me give you another example.
In undergrad I started to date this girl. She had a car, which was pretty rad for the 90s. And the first few times we drove around in it as a couple, Summer of 69 kept coming on the radio. A truly uncanny amount of times. Eventually it became ‘our’ song, all ironically, tongue-and-cheek style. A few years later, when I learned guitar, me, her and her roommate used to jam out to this. It was easy to play and even easier to shout along to.
Fast forward to 2010. When I hear this song now, it sounds a little different. The nostalgia of youth gone by that Bryan sings about is a little more real in my thirties. My enjoyment of it is a lot less ironic. In fact, it speaks to my own Summer of ’69. I’d like to think the halcyon days of the late-90s weren’t the best days of my life (we’d all like to think that they’re still ahead of us, right?!?!), but they were pretty damn good. This song for me now captures it.
Of course, it could have been any other song on the radio a bunch of times when I first started to date that girl. But it wasn’t. Bryan Adams, you’re officially on my life’s soundtrack. All the more amazing, it’s un-ironic.
Now please don't make any more shitty songs with Sting and Rod Stewart...