Wednesday, May 04, 2005

It smells like weed in here... big time.

Let it be said, first off and bold as balls, I hate the Grateful Dead. I fucking hate them. I hate everything about them. No- stop right there- I don't wanna hear it-I hate them. Now let me follow that with saying that Ryan Adam's new release "Cold Roses" is eerily similar to the Grateful Dead throughout, and somehow, even though this time yesterday I was so angry I could barely contain it, "Cold Roses" is outstanding.

Every review you're going to read is gonna talk about how this album, spanning two discs, harkens to Neil Young "Harvest" and The Grateful Dead throughout, and I would say that sadly, that is true. But it also gets richer and richer with every listen and signals a Ryan Adams who is perhaps a bit more grown up and producing a more "adult" sound. He's not kicking down your door and singing New York, New York any more, but he is building rumnitive little songs about private things that when you spend the time to love them, love you back whole heartedly.

This is not to say that the album isn't filled with one overwhelming, and in the end, boring theme; that of love, the questions within and the battle for security within. Over and over we hear Ryan Adams, perhaps painfully sober, telling us that you rattle his cage like a thunderstorm and that we should love eachother like we want to be loved. This is obnoxious and when strung out over two discs, wears on the heartstrings and makes more poignant moments less effective.

I have met Ryan Adams and he is perhaps the most ADD-consumed human being I have ever encountered. He is always somewhere else, and yet, has the uncanny ability to absorb everything, you'd find him referencing something you thought he was totally ignoring you say two hours earlier. This being said, it makes me think that Ryan Adams is less of a virtuoso who OVERSEES his expansive talents, but is victim to. He seems to be a person drug about his life by his own unending passion for all things, and although "Heartbreaker" signaled a rock solid LP, all of his releases yet are more like moments captured in times. Instead of getting thought-out, intentional installments of art, it's more as if we're buying live recordings of sentinal moments in a mad artist's life. This latest being "Ryan recovering from a broken hand, heart, and a lifetime of substance abuse '05, Carolina". And all said and done, it is an enjoyable listen.

I love Ryan Adams. I think he is amazing. This time yesterday, I was cursing "Cold Roses" to hell, today I am really thankful for it and consider it a success in many levels, more subtle than extravagant. The songs are simple, sometimes shooting themselves in the foot, and the album doesn't benefit from one of the worst production jobs I've ever heard. The overall "sound" of the record is awful, cheesy and shows an utter lack of a producer's advice. There are some songs that foray into places that make them impotent, and a correct producer could of helped harness what was there.

I'm gonna continue to ramble and ramble, but in closing, "Cold Roses" is a quiet and fragile success that either signals a very compelling return to a "Heartbreaker"-like approach to songwriting, or perhaps just another step down the path of the erratic artist, always compelled and never satisfied.


Anonymous BRendan said...


You've got send me the album. NOthing beats good Ryan Adams.


PS - Give the Dead a chance. i used to hate them. BUt then thanks in part to an episode of Freaks and Geeks i hada change of heart. American Beauty sounds so much like WIlco, aaron always thinks its wilco whenever its played. But thats Aaron.

3:13 PM  
Blogger Chad Hartigan said...

are you gonna review the new lisa marie presley or what?

7:27 PM  
Blogger Keegan DeWitt said...

heck yes. whatta ya think!

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Brendan said...

Listen to Box of Rain, again. If you still think the Dead suck entirely ill personally clean your bathroom floor.

PS - I cant seem to fuckin download this album.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous caslin said...

i stopped reading after bold as balls.

10:37 AM  

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