|Artist:||Adams, Ryan & The Cardinals||Added:||May 2005|
|Label:||Umg Recordings, Inc|
|Add Date:||2006-01-01||Pull Date:||2006-03-05|
|Week Ending:||Jan 8|
|1.||May 22, 2007:||Sound and Fury
|3.||Jan 06, 2006:||Biff Bang Pow
|2.||Jan 06, 2006:||Eels in the Loo
Lost Highway, 2005.
reviewed by dj matthew stark rubin.
fcc clean except 7 (“shit” and “fuck”)
Straight-ahead alt-country rock . His last record Rock and Roll was a shit-box of radio-ready tripe, so I was pleasantly surprised with this disc. Don’t believe the press- this is NOT like his delicate masterpiece Heartbreaker in style (this is definitely a rock record, not a singer/songwriter confessional), but it is more similar to that one than his other recent stuff because of its looseness and ballad-ee tendencies. It doesn’t sound too overproduced, definitely has that off-the-cuff honest vibe that made Heartbreaker so good. Adams and his band take no risks here at all, but they’re tight as shit and the songwriting, if it rarely wows, never falters either. The lyrics are corny as shit, but the delivery is perfect; somehow he sounds confident and vulnerable at the same time, traipsing around near-falsetto register with that perfect amount of twang that only rent at the Chelsea Hotel can buy you. All in all, a very pleasant record. (P.S. if you like this but find it a bit lacking, it’s definitely in the same general department as some of Frank Black’s recent solo work, only Frank’s shit fucking RULES!!!)
My picks: DISC ONE: 1, 7 (FCC); DISC TWO: 3, 5, 9
1- mid-tempo, acoustic/slide/tele driven rocker; corny but sweet/sad chorus. Some nicely understated girl harmonies low in the mix.
2- soft and sweet rocker, this time with more prominent fem backing vox
3- acoustic ballad, sounds eerily like joni mitchell. Builds towards the end into straightforward rock and loses some steam.
4- Counts “1,2,3,4” into adult-contemporary-meets-country mélange about girls in Carolina. This song is so fucking corny; it really, really sucks.
5- Honkey-Tonk Rock verse with alt-rock chorus.
6- Heartbreaker-esque acoustic, sad acoustic ballad. Later we get drums with brushes and well-executed lap-steel. Who can complain?
7 (fcc “shit will fuck you up” once)- very poppy country rocker with some good yelpin’. Deep-throated female vox join in for the bittersweet coda, which, much to my surprise, really works, falsetto and all!
8- bluesy acoustic guitar intro into barstool rocker lament.
9- Sad, piano-driven ballad. Involves horses, valleys, flowers, black rivers, girls leaving, and all that shit. Adams asks the question: “What does it mean to be so sad…How do you keep love alive?” I don’t know, Ryan! Avoid this song, even if you think you’re ironic, please.
1- mid-tempo alt-rocker that sorta makes you wanna shake what yo mama gave you. Bland, but nice coda. He’s actually quite good at codas.
2- The Single. Adult Contemporary. Pretty Boring.
3- soulful ballad. Uncharacteristically impromptu and believable lyrics. Cool lap-steel chord-work in the background.
4- Umm, can you spell G-R-A-T-E-F-U-L D-E-A-D? American Beauty, kids. (Someone should re-animate American Beauty by the way)
5- another plaintive mid-tempo alt rocker with a taste of country. Catchy!
6- Holy Harmonica Batman!
7- For all you Billy Joel fans out there, another piano-driven ballad. With some facile lead-guitar work though.
8- This ballad starts with some hard chords and drum fills! Otherwise indistinguishable from the rest at this point to my worn-out ears. Watch out for the a-ca-pella bridge.
9- yet another piano-driven ballad but more poignant than the rest of them on the relative strength of the lyrics.
|1.||Magnolia Mountain||10.||Easy Plateau|
|2.||Sweet Illusions||11.||Let It Ride|
|4.||When Will You Come Back Home||13.||Cold Roses|
|5.||Beautiful Sorta||14.||If I Am a Stranger|
|6.||Now that You're Gone||15.||Dance All Night|
|8.||Mockingbird||17.||Life Is Beautiful|
|9.||How Do You Keep Love Alive||18.||Friends|