Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments.
Disc 1 Track #8: "Heaven" (April '85)
One thing I don't get about the lyrics is, why is he finding it hard to believe they're in heaven? It isn't too hard to see!
There's a prom going on somewhere in my heart, whenever I hear this song. Deep down, way back deep down in my heart. Like that scene in Footloose where the preacher (John Lithgow) and his wife (Dianne Wiest) are standing way out on the edge of the field, looking at the barn hall all lit with colored lanterns, the happy music barely drifting out to them. Man, if I'd been a few years older, "Heaven" could have been MY prom theme! But as it is, I came too late or it came too soon. Still, there's still a definite melancholy, infinite-hurt-and-wisdom of teen romance "baby, you're all that I want" yearning to it that lingers. I wasn't too young to understand that. Nobody is.
This is a deeply inoffensive song. But why should that be a knock? It's straightforward like the emotion it describes. From the gentle guitar arpeggios that lead you in and the slow-walking piano that steps you through the verse, to the swelling, minor bombast of the refrain, there's everything to lift up and nothing here to derail the simplest message on earth: we've been through our doubt, we've been through our roads away from each other - but that's over now. I'll be standing here by you. Nothing can change what you mean to me.
Isn't that all any of us want?
Who here really wants something more. Please tell me what it is.
"Baby, you're all that I want." No matter how many times in our lives we feel that certain, no matter how many times in our lives we are right to feel that certain - only to have it all fall apart, somehow. Into recrimination and despair, and even hate. And you swear you'll never again be fooled! You swear all the love songs are lies, the singers a bunch of fucking liars. And sure, the singers go through it in their own lives, too. How hard it must be, to sing that song again.
Yet doesn't it all still ring so true? Despite everything. Doesn't it feel real? That you can come through a certain amount of doubt and struggle, and find a certainty that's tested and true? That doesn't fail. That doesn't break. Surely if there is a heaven, coming through to it after all must finally feel something like that.
Baby, you're all that I want. When you're lying here in my arms...
I'm not finding it hard to believe.