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Feb 15

CHICANE ft BRYAN ADAMS – “Don’t Give Up”

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#851, 18th March 2000

chicane I like the brusqueness – and the ambiguity – of Bryan Adams’ feelgood advice here: “Don’t worry if the sun don’t shine / You’ve seen it before.” The problem is, we’ve heard this before too – “Don’t Give Up” is an unglamorous song about the unglamorous struggle of getting things done, set to a laborious trance backing. Perhaps there’s a virtue in effort, but this isn’t the record to sell the idea: to my ears, it’s one of the most doggedly boring number ones. If “Pure Shores” was running hand-in-hand over white sands under an azure sky, this is a pebbly trudge along Frinton seafront in overcast early March. As it trots through its subdued melody and dutiful builds, I’m left thinking Chicane wouldn’t have had a sniff at the top without the gimmick of “Don’t Give Up”’s unlikely frontman.

Adams digitally treated his vocal on this track to an extreme degree to make it sound less rock. I don’t think he quite manages it – his singing is husky anyhow, and it’s not just tone that makes the arena rocker: even in this dessicated version the chorus sounds likes its written to shout at packed stadiums, it’s just the production leeches the weight and power from it. Inadvertently, the track hits on an idea – throaty, effortful bloke singing over formula builds and drops – that we will see an awful lot of in the early 2010s. But this inadvertent futurism isn’t the result of any particular vision, just an offspring of the listless humping of two clichés.

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Comments

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  1. 31
    Auntie Beryl on 19 Feb 2015 #

    #30 The covers album was called “Tracks Of My Years”, wonder if Ken Bruce gets a royalty?

  2. 32
    weej on 20 Feb 2015 #

    Perfectly pleasant trance track. A listen to Saltwater confirms that it’s much better, a listen to Offshore confirms “oh, THAT one” – I’m just impressed that I’m able to give Bryan Adams, in 2000, a ‘5’.

  3. 33
    ciaran on 28 Feb 2015 #

    A Nuts ‘n’ Gum -Together At Last! type of collaboration this.

    I can understand why the detractors above wouldn’t be fond of DGU but I liked it back in the day and my enthusiasm has dipped slightly over the years it was still slightly enojyable to hear again. 6.

    The sound quality is absolutely shocking though. Like a low bit WMA file.

    Adams was already a bit old hat by now so wasn’t the type of thing that would ever become a long term classic and for me its perhaps the one thing that looked so futuristic (as dance music always appeared for me) at the time to instead feel completely dated.

  4. 34
    punctum on 5 Mar 2015 #

    During one of his many pub-closing visits to London, Adams heard a remix which Chicane – a.k.a. dance producer Nick Bracegirdle, a.k.a. Disco Citizens – had done of one of his recent rocktastic hits, “Baby Put Your Sock In My Dregs” (oh all right then, it was “On Cloud Number 9”) and fancied having a go at making a dance record. This was an apt choice for Adams, since Bracegirdle specialised in ponderously gloopy trance anthems; the previous summer had seen him in the top ten with “Saltwater,” a collaboration with Maire Brennan Out Of Clannad. “Don’t Give Up,” which not only has nothing to do with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush but also bears a title which Adams repeatedly mis-sings as “Don’t give it up” (of course he never specifies the nature of said “it”; perhaps he meant “buying up and shutting perfectly decent pubs”), gloomily goes around the standard trance treadmill with equally predictable memes (“Every day’s an uphill climb,” “You gotta do what you wanna do,” “Sale now on at a Land of Leather store near you,” &c.). Curiously, Adams’ heavily electronically-modified vocal – when it initially appeared on white label Bracegirdle deliberately kept the singer’s identity a secret – makes the record sound more like a belated Howard Jones comeback single. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink, provided you can find a pub he hasn’t yet bought up and/or boarded up.

  5. 35
    weej on 25 Mar 2015 #

    I’ve been listening to ‘Saltwater’ quite a bit, thanks to this thread, and am wondering what other trance I missed out on at the time. Would any kind comment box people like to steer me towards a good playlist or compilation?

  6. 36
    Andrew Farrell on 25 Mar 2015 #

    You could probably do worse that the MoS to start with.

  7. 37
    Lazarus on 28 Jan 2018 #

    Now, here’s an odd thing … many of you will I’m sure be familiar with allmusic.com, a database-type site that does the same job for the music industry as imdb does for those who work in TV and film. As with imdb, you don’t have to be a star to be in their show – every also-ran and bit-part player is there – or so I thought. I often use it, pointlessly you may think, to read reviews of albums I already own, indeed often do so while listening to said album.

    And so it was today that I dug out my newly acquired copy of ‘Reckless’ (I previously owned it many years ago on cassette, but that’s long since disappeared) and typed the LP’s title into allmusic. Several albums called ‘Reckless’ came up – none of them by Adams. Curious, I thought, so I typed ‘Bryan Adams’ into the search. The nearest it would give me were the likes of Ryan Adams and Bryan Ferry. Eventually I found mention of his name, under a review of the ‘Prince of Thieves’ soundtrack, but but it wasn’t highlighted/linked as is normally the case.

    Something strange has happened here. Allmusic is an American-based site; Adams is one of the biggest solo acts from North America in the last thirty years. Either the site owners and the Groover from Vancouver have had a massive falling-out, or, thinking about the comment from Punctum above, perhaps the site has been infiltrated by CAMRA members?

  8. 38
    Lee Saunders on 28 Jan 2018 #

    #37 https://www.allmusic.com/faq/bryan-adams

  9. 39
    Lazarus on 28 Jan 2018 #

    Hmmm … thanks – so he was taken off at his own request then – that certainly raises as many questions as it answers. Why would any artist not want potential new fans to learn about their music? Perhaps he took exception to an unfavourable review.

  10. 40
    General Bounce on 27 Sep 2019 #

    I’m no fan of Bryan Adams – I find him to be one of the most obnoxious artists of the 80s / early 90s and “Everything I Do” is a hideous record. However I do find his collaborations particularly enjoyable and as someone who has always loved dance music, was just starting to go clubbing regularly and also learning to DJ, I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed this record. It’s definitely one of Chicane’s cheesiest productions, and I doubt it would have come close to being a number one without the novelty of being a Bryan Adams collaboration, but it’s a favourite of mine from that era.

    It’s also aged a lot better than many of Chicane’s commercial hits. It’s most definitely better than “Saltwater” which, although it was great at the time, always seemed like a lazy mash-up of the Clannad sample with Lucid’s “I Can’t Help Myself” – and feels even more so now. Certainly not one of Nick Bracegirdle’s better productions.

  11. 41
    Gareth Parker on 24 May 2021 #

    I agree with General Bounce’s comment above. Not a fan of Bryan, but really like this record. A 7/10 in my opinion.

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