Rock N Rollby Ryan Adams
"Let me sing a song for you / That's never been sung before," pleads Ryan Adams at the start of Rock N Roll, named for the guiding passion of his fourth solo album. With an artist as indebted to his influences as Adams, it's hard not to read these lyrics ironically, but there's no faking the earnestness of his love affair this time out. Never content to be just an alt-country poster-boy -- a label he carried with his band Whiskeytown and his strum-and-twang solo debut, Heartbreaker -- Adams here finds his explosive musical talent doing the dirty with the sizzling sounds of the Stones, Paul Westerberg, Nirvana, Sonic Youth...you get the picture. And in case you don't, Adams sings certifiable rock lines such as "It's 1974 / Just like the day I was born," on the beefy hard-rock paean "1974," just to set the scene. Lyrically, he treads the border of rock clichés, singing about junkies ("The Drugs Not Working"), heartache ("Wish You Were Here"), and generally being lonely and f**ked up (insert any track here). But just when you're beginning to wonder whether he's shooting from the hip or the heart, he tosses in a soul-baring ballad like the spare title cut, where he reveals, "I don't feel cool at all." On the melancholy jangle of "Anybody Wanna Take Me Home," Adams divulges his Smiths fandom as much as a deep insecurity. If Ryan Adams is trying on different guises, it's more a matter of a musical soul not resting in one place for too long than any cold calculation. And Rock N Roll -- which finds him playing nearly all the instruments, alongside barely noticeable cameos from Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, ex-Hole bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur, and Adams's current sweetie, Parker Posey -- is a page in his musical diary, a 2003 state-of-the-nation paper. That said, it's a must-read.
- Release Date:
- Lost Highway
Performance CreditsRyan Adams Primary Artist,Bass,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Multi Instruments,Various
Paul Garisto Drums
Johnny T Drums
Joe McGinty Piano
Joe McGrath Piano
Tony Shanahan Bass,Bass Guitar
Jamie Candiloro Bass,Bass Guitar,Hammond Organ
Melissa Auf der Maur Background Vocals
Billie Joe Armstrong Background Vocals
Jonathan Flaugher Bass,Bass Guitar
Johnny McNab Guitar
Parker Posey Background Vocals
Johnny T Voices
Johnny Pisano Bass,Bass Guitar
Technical CreditsJim Barber Producer
Frank Callari Scenery
Eli Janney Engineer
Joe McGrath Engineer
Brad Rice Composer
Tony Shanahan Composer
Jesse Malin Spiritual Advisor
Ruddy Insert Photography
Jamie Candiloro Engineer
Tom Schick Engineer
Bob Gruen Insert,Insert Photography
James Barber Producer,Audio Production
Ryan Adams Composer,Costume Design
Lyor Cohen Scenery
Andy Nelson Scenery
Lauren Murphy Scenery
Richard Kern Cover Photo
Josh Grier Representation,Legal Advisor,Legal Counsel
Luke Lewis Scenery
Dawn Nepp Administration
Parker Posey Composer,Executive Producer
Johnny T. Yerington Composer
Julie Greenwald Scenery
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I don't like it. Adams has hidden his talent for this one. Ryan who??
I enjoy Ryan Adams for his ability to write great songs that sound familiar even when you hear them for the first time. This record is no different in that sense, but it is different. It is nothing like his other 4 cds, it is all about rocking out! This record fits nicely between Gold and Adam's punk group The Finger. It boasts big guitars and loud singing. Adams deserves all the props he gets for being a great musician.
From the first five seconds, it’s clear that Ryan Adams new record is an ELECTRIC record. Ryan made this one with just drummer Johnny T. and three or four guest bass players and a couple guest vocalists [including current flame I guess, Parker Posey, who is also given a co-writing credit on one song]. On a lot of the early cuts, it’s just Ryan screaming vocals over layered power guitars ala Foo Fighters or Smashing Pumpkins. As a matter of fact, I think on this record Ryan is really trying to BE Billy Corrigan [without shaving his head]. ‘This Is It’ opens with a slice of pure power pop [amazingly not the first single]. ‘1974’ [note similarity to Smashing Pumpkins title ‘1979’] has a good Fun House era Stooges groove, very similar to ‘TV Eye.’ ‘Wish You Were Here’ is musically interesting, but is dragged down by awful lyrics [CHORUS: “It’s all a bunch of s**t/And there’s nothing to do around here/ It’s totally f**ked/ I’m totally fu**ed/ Wish you were here”]. ‘So Alive’ is a great eighties groove [‘Strength’ by the Alarm meets U2’s ‘I Will Follow’] with some Morrisey meets Bono vocal styling. ‘Burning Photographs’ has a really cool reverbed and tremoloed [change in volume vs. vibrato :change in pitch] guitars. Who is this about? [“Pretty pictures in a magazine/ Everybody is so make believe it’s true/ I used to be sad/ Now I’m bored with you/ You’re doomed to repeat the past/ Cause nothing is going to last/ I burned all your photographs”] ‘Note to Self: Don’t Die’ is Ryan’s ‘Bullet with Butterfly Wings.’ Of course the title track, ‘Rock and Roll’ features just Ryan on piano, but he admits his problem out load: “Send all of my best to the band/ I don’t think I’ll make it to the show/ There’s this girl I can’t get out of my head.” ‘Anybody Want to Take Me Home’ is a nice song with it’s chiming 12 strings and sad boy alone in NYC lyrics, but it would be better for Adam Duritz / Counting Crows. ‘The Drugs Are not Working’ has more cool guitars with viobrato arm / wang bar dives over another Stooges groove winding up to the last two minutes of some wah-wah guitars and cheesy synthetic strings finally ending with about ten seconds of piano. It’s not a bad record. I can even see myself enjoying it as mindless pop entertainment in a sort of U2 October meets Smashing Pumpkins kind of way. But as any sort of artistic statement, forget about it. There’s no real EMOTION to this record at all, and that’s one of the things that made Ryan’s other solo and Whiskeytown enjoyable; there was a joy in just playing or an underlying sadness or anger that is totally NOT present on this record.
Ryan Adams is truly a great musician. At first i just bought this album because Time magazine made such a big thing about him. They got it all right. This guy's got talent. I recommend him to all music lovers. All of them!
I love Bryan Adams! He rocks!
The songs on this album and Mr. Adam's other albums are well written, crafted, produced...etc.. But like a previous reviewer I have heard them before, and I can't help but think that these are Paul Westerberg/Replacements B-sides from twenty years ago, but without the Rimbaud-like lyrics. What a tribute to the best musical talent to come out of Minnesota since Dylan. Long live The 'Mats!
I have no idea how this could be compared to any Smashing Pumpkins album. Not in vocal style or musical style, and that both SP and Ryan Adams have song titles that consist of years is not enough. This album makes me think of going to a bar, getting drunk, falling in love and getting your heartbroken all in one night. It was an excellent soundtrack as I walked along the highway home from work one rainy night. Give it a chance, straight up rock and roll