Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

by Greg Spencer Rating:8 Release Date:2014-09-08

There has always been something utterly captivating about the way Ryan Adams has conducted his musical business over the past decade and some. His latest release is his 14th record in 14 years and there is a definite step up here, recalling his most interesting material, with the record Love Is Hell instantly coming to mind.

Sure, his style is different as you would expect but the quality of his vocals has stayed as strong as ever, just as his lyrical ability feels about as fresh as when Adams drifted onto the scene almost a decade and a half ago. On ‘Am I Safe’, Adams proclaims “It’s complicated. I just don’t love you anymore”. This is a guy who is used to being honest with his lyrics, he doesn’t mince his words at all, and on this record it's no different. Heck, the guy isn’t as sensitive as the late Elliott Smith in terms of his lyrics but there is a hell of a lot of emotion underneath what seems quite a tough exterior.

‘My Wrecking Ball’ is an interesting track; on first listen, Bruce Springsteen will come to mind as Adams does sound like a young Springsteen. Incidentally, The Boss did do a track and album named Wrecking Ball and there are plenty of similarities at work here. In some ways, Adams' and Springsteens’ styles are quite alike. Adams could even be the poster boy for the new American alt-country scene.  

Adams probably won’t attract any new fans for this record because the pacing is the usual mid-tempo-to-slow for most songs and, although lead single ‘Gimme Something Good’ has received some airplay on the radio, there is nothing on this record to suggest Adams will break out of being an artist on the periphery of mainstream rock or pop. This is something that Adams will almost surely embrace when it comes to album number 15.

Still, this is a really cracking album. Adams has a genuinely engrossing presence on this record and his personality shines through, as it does on most of his discography. It isn’t his best album but when you can call upon a mountain of material as great as Adams can then you're definitely doing something right.                             

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