Lately, not the best of things have been said about Ryan Adams. His past two EPs were sub-par. He stupidly broke his arm in a bizarre stage mishap. He cussed out an audience member for jokingly confusing him with Bryan Adams. Those three incidents make it hard to take his release, Rock N Roll, and him seriously.
Let me just to get this out of the way before there are complaints that I just am biased against folk-rock. I like Whiskeytown. Heartbreaker was a good album. I enjoy listening to Ryan Adams for the most part, and I respect him. But I don’t enjoy listening to him when he writes and sings songs that one of my ten-year-old cousins can write (“You gotta do what you do / Gotta say what you say” from “Shallow,” “Pretty pictures in a magazine / Everybody is so make believe” from “Burning Photographs”).
First of all, who names their album Rock N Roll? After pushing aside disgust from the title alone, I let my expectations of the album drop extremely low. I figured if I thought something horrible about this album, there was a chance I would be surprised, or I could at least soften the blow of being disappointed. Neither happened in the end.
In “This Is It” alone, Adams rhymes “you” with “you” around four times. Now, most people know that you can rhyme a word with another word, so it doesn’t end up being redundant. Apparently, none of Adams’s English teachers cared to tell him this along the way, as it’s not the only song where he does it.
Creativity managed to run away and hide from Adams throughout the recording of this album as well. He must not of found it along the way either because there isn’t a trace of it on Rock N Roll. If one of you find it, please do direct Mr. Adams in the general direction of its location. Hopefully, someone in the near future can do this.
Confused best describes Adams on this album. It seems like he just woke up and found himself in a recording studio and didn’t know what to do. When suddenly ideas came to him and he started recording whatever came to his head, good or bad—well, mainly bad. Songs about drugs? Check. Cigarettes smoked during sessions? Check. Word “fuck” twice in a song? Check. Loads of complaints? Check. Those qualities are about all this album has. When that’s all that an album is based on, what’s the point in even bothering to make one?
If there is anything that I got out of this album, it was that you really should avoid releasing three albums so close to each other. It might be a good idea if you’ve been stockpiling material for around ten plus years. It’s not a good idea when you don’t have any new material and your writing is constipated at best.
(Lost Highway Records)