Ryan Adams, “Ashes and Fire”
Ryan Adams’ thirteenth studio album starts out promising. But just as his last dozen or so records, after the first two tracks, something gets lost. It could be concentration. It could be passion.
Adams’ best work has always had a soulful quality. He can write a good pop song and then dress it up in country garb. He’s been doing this since the days of Whiskeytown. But the awfully sappy “Come Home” and “Rocks” on this album are just not that good. And then there’s a pretty good track, and then some weak stuff, and on and on and on.
Maybe Adams should hang out in Nashville more with some of his old friends. Maybe that’s what made ‘Heartbreaker” so stellar. Maybe New York/L.A. have done to his songwriting what they do to everyone else who stays in those towns too long: beat down/softened up.
Regardless, what we have here is an uneven album. There are some good spots. There are some bad ones. Don’t think I’ll stay too long.
Listen for yourself: http://soundcloud.com/ryanadams/sets/ashes-and-fire/