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Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams (LP) & 1984 (EP/45)

September 10, 2014

ryan adams ryan adams  ryan adams 1984

I have been hooked on Ryan Adams since I stumbled upon his band Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac CD back in 1997.  I bought that album (at Target of all places) without any idea of who Whiskeytown was – it was low-priced and the cover art appealed to me. It is one of my all time favorite albums.

I then got into his solo career – but honestly I could not really keep up with the raw volume of his output.  I caught up with him again in 2011 with his brilliant Ashes and Fire LP.  Adams has kept a low profile for the last couple of years and so I was excited to hear there was a new album coming.  He released a couple of singles from the album this summer and they sounded great – I was really anticipating.

Then on August 19th 2014 he released a 10 song 45 (1984).  1984 is nothing like the new album Ryan AdamsRyan Adams is “classic rock” and 1984 is hardcore punk.  On Ryan Adams Adams taps his inner Tom Petty and on 1984 his inner Hüsker Dü.  This album will likely not appeal to Adams mainstream fans.  If you have read about Adams you know this punk side is a very real side of his musical personality.  So even if hardcore punk does not appeal to you, as a fan of Adams you need to give it a listen – think of it as an adventurous appetizer before the main course.  From a marketing perspective it created a nice little pre-album buzz (and became an instant collectable – the $6 single is now on eBay at $40 – fortunately it is available on Spotify with a bonus song)

Ryan Adams will absolutely appeal to his mainstream fans.  It is not alt-country, but classic rock.  This album would not have sounded out-of-place in the mid-70s.  But it is not an anachronism – instead it sounds pretty timeless.  Which is what all Adams best work is.  There is a bit of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Lindsey Buckingham and Paul Westerberg on Ryan Adams.  The album whispers and it screams.

It is a grower (sounds better with each repeated listen).  I listened a few times last week on the NPR First Listen preview – and it sounded OK.  Similar on Spotify.  But on vinyl the album really reveals itself.  Adams is a serious analog and tubes guy and he clearly took care in the vinyl presentation: high quality 180 gram BLACK vinyl (thank goodness!) and a lyric sleeve – but wait that is just for looks – the actual LP is encased in an audiophile sleeve.  Thank you Ryan for not treating the vinyl customer as someone with a fetish, but as a music lover and audiophile.  Interesting gimmick: the MP3 download that accompanies the vinyl LP is a vinyl rip.

Clearly this will be on my best of for 2014 and I can’t wait to see him live this fall.  This is as good as any of Ryan Adams’ best stuff.

PS – for a real treat check out Bob Mehr’s long read on Adams on BuzzFeed.






From → Music Reviews

  1. Everyting I have by Ryan I really like. Will eventually acquire it all.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Catchgroove’s Best of 2014 (Music) | Axl's Catch Groove

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