Sunday, November 26, 2006

album of the day

Gold by Ryan Adams.

There's a sort of perverse rock snob temptation with any given artist to latch on to one of their more obscure albums as being the "definitive" one. Just to separate oneself from the common herd who, God forbid, just heard a couple of tunes on the radio and decided they quite liked them, without hearing the full back catalogue or absorbing the artists's full tortured history.

The point I'm fumbling my way towards making is this: Ryan Adams is a phenomenally prolific recording artists who's released something like 7 albums in the last 5 or 6 years. Some of these are a bit on the non-commercial, or just lumpy and inconsistent side, but they have their devotees nonetheless (Heartbreaker and Love Is Hell in particular), but one stands out as being a focused and considered bid for world domination, and it's this one. Possibly for that reason, this is the best thing he's done. It's got the trademark early-70's Stonesy acoustic/electric guitar & Hammond organ combo allied to some terrific songs and Adams' plaintive country-blues yelp.

Some of his other stuff (Heartbreaker and Cold Roses, for instance) is good too. Just don't let anyone try and tell you it's as good as this, cos it isn't.

Interesting Ryan Adams fact: anyone who hasn't heard of him assumes you mean his near-namesake Bryan Adams when you mention him, and, curiously, they share a birthday, November 5th (1974 and 1959, respectively).

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