Side one of Bryan Adams
' third album, 1983's Cuts Like a Knife
, is simply perfect. "The Only One," "This Time," and the title track are mid-paced melodic rockers with drop-dead choruses and hooks; they set the mold for most of Adams
' finest and biggest hits. Though it rocks a little harder, "Take Me Back" is just as radio-friendly thanks to its use of female backup singers, and the fantastic "Straight Through the Heart" is Adams
' first of many great ballads. Side two opens with a few misfires, but recovers soon enough thanks to the gutsy guitar of "Don't Leave Me Lonely" and the rather saccharine (but still good) ballad "The Best Was Yet to Come." Adams
would finally achieve chart-topping perfection on his next release, Reckless
, but Cuts Like a Knife
comes pretty close.