Some of you want to come up here to Canada to avoid the draft or get an abortion. You should know that the country is divided between Beige Provinces and Gray Provinces. The Maple Leaf is a brand icon, not a symbol, so as usual the chiaroscuro cover graphic of Bryan Adams’s new Room Service has no relation to the album title. At least this time the title is related to the contents, as the vocals were all recorded in hotels while Adams was on tour. None of these hotels were the crackhouse SROs in Vancouver’s downtown East Side serial-killer playground, even though the first song here is called “East Side Story.” Like that other Roxy Roller named Bryan, this one started off glam-rockin’ (“She’s a kind of gnu that belongs in a zoo,” from 1977’s “Shut Up”), but it was the not-Canadian one who sang in French occasionally, although that one never exploited the dumpster as a lead instrument, Eno or no. No dumpsters here either, as all the ones in Vancouver are at full occupancy.
In “This Side of Paradise,” this Red Ensign colonial, who duetted with Mel C and recorded an ode to Princess Di, refers to 69 again, a recurring theme with him. And who wouldn’t want to see a video featuring those two? Diana hairstyles are still quite common up here, so people who didn’t get any pussy in the ’80s can move to Canada and redo their adolescence, except better. Maybe one day the National Film Board will release the Di/Mel C 69 video and we’ll be able to pay for our own missile defense. Until then, if you need superstar-tribulation gravel-gargling with frostbitten funk, gangrenous guitars, and a surreal B&W cover, then stick with Nazareth’s road-fever epic Close Enough for Rock and Roll, which happily includes “Vancouver Shakedown,” which you can listen to while filling out that immigration form. That’s a song about the End Times. Did you know that government phone numbers in Vancouver all start with 666?