Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll

I Wanna Taranna Pt. 16: BMV #16 (3-For-$10 #8) Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll

Ryan Adams is another artist that I buy whenever I see him, especially in a 3-for-$10 situation!

I found this interesting (from Amazon):

“Enjoyment of Rock N Roll–Ryan Adams’ follow up to his alt-country hit, Gold–is largely dependant on both your approach to it and your knowledge of rock’s rich history. There’s definitely plenty to enjoy, if you look in the right places and don’t focus so much on others. If you know zilch about music, but love gritty, rough and ready rock with big, fat slices of tunes, crunching guitars and attitude, then this will make you growl. If you loved Gold, but secretly hoped something rockier would emerge after Adams’s much publicised socialising with the Strokes and tribute-paying to Noel Gallagher, then this may be your record of the year. However, if you know your stuff, then you may feel uneasy. Not disappointed, but a little cheated. Why? Because, internal record-company politics and artistic tantrums aside, this is more Ryan Adams “In the Style of…” than anything else. For instance, “This Is It” sounds exactly like a Strokes song would sound, “Shallow” is Definitely Maybe-era Oasis (even down to the stolen T-Rex riff) and “So Alive” is 1980s U2.

That isn’t to say the songs aren’t anything short of fantastic (especially the almost ethereal, emotional “So Alive” (“Today I watched the boats / Moving through the harbour / Walking on water / In your arms I stay”)–great melodies, great guitar work. But you have to wonder, why. Thinking about that can only diminish enjoyment. It’s not his best work, but still damn good dirty fun. –Cortman Virtue”

I can totally hear what Virtue means, but I think maybe I’m a little more forgiving. Adams worked at such a prolific pace for so long, this probably had to happen at the point it did. At least he put it all on one record instead of spreading it out over several. 

You see, other reviewers pointed out (rightly) that the problem is expectations. This album followed Heartbreaker and Gold, which some consider to be some of his best post-Whiskeytown work. But what was lacking, then, was perspective. Adams has been so all over the place (and so consistently good) for so long now that it’s easy to look back at 2003 and know that this was him just getting his rock on, as much as it was nodding to several of his favourites. 

I dug it, and it adds to the pile of Adams awesome. Crank it and let the music take you.

20 thoughts on “Ryan Adams – Rock N Roll

  1. J. says:

    I think both you and Virtue like this one a whole lot more than me. I like some of the tunes, but overall it’s too throwaway… though I believe that was Adams’ intention. Or at least I read something like that at the time (protest against the label’s treatment of Love Is Hell).

    Anyhoo, as much as I think it’s rather throwaway, I do like to revisit it every now and again and turn it up loud.

    And I also reckon it’s a good addition to the collection at that price.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      I understand the throw-away aspect, especially considering the awesomeness he was also releasing back then. I dunno, good he was stretching his legs a wee bit. Turning it up loud definitely helps, and yup, couldn’t beat the price!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Totally irresistible. I’ve said (to my lovely wife, and anyone else who will listen) that it’s a good thing I don’t live in Toronto. I would be in BMV all the time. Three albums for $10 CDN is a sweet deal, a great way to hear things you wouldn’t maybe have bought at full price, and a sure way to fill up your CD shelves in a hurry!

      Liked by 1 person

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