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.