One of the most prolific artists of the last fifteen years, American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams is set to release his fourteenth solo album after a seemingly endless three year wait. The self-titled album is awash with a timeless Rock N Roll, Americana sound, which Adams excels at creating.
The album opens with lead single Gimme Something Good, whose Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-inspired minor guitar riffs and organ evoke the ballad rock of the 1980s. The guitar-fuelled anthem, which has the grit and muscles of arena rock with the sensitivity characteristic of Adams’ previous releases, leads into one of the major highlights of the album. Kim is a striking, slow track whose minimalist arrangement allows Adams’ heartrending lyrics to shine, stammering “I can’t sleep / Can’t go home… With this key / Scratched into the wall / I spell out your name / It’s f—ing with my head, f—ing with my heart.”
Adams kicks it up a notch with Trouble and Am I Safe, both moody tracks with a strong groove and wonderfully melodic guitars, before getting intimate with My Wreckin’ Ball. One of the most penetrating tracks on the record, My Wreckin’ Ball takes us from the arena into the coffee shop, with tender poetry accompanied by a weeping acoustic guitar. From the Bruce Springsteen-esque Stay With Me, and the college-Rock feel of Shadows, to the buoyant Feels Like Fire, and blues-tinged rock of I Just Might, Adams continues alternating the record’s pace, all the while maintaining a convincing attitude that is all at once despondent, and satisfyingly assertive.
Tired of Giving Up, with its beautiful layered guitars and expertly crafted melody, will have crowds chanting Adams universally moving lyrics, “I’m tired of giving up so easy / Tired of giving up at all / Nobody said it would be easy / Nobody said nothing at all / And I’m tired of giving up,” while Let Go is the perfect choice to close the album. Teeming with Adams’ characteristic melancholy that somehow reveals a hidden optimism, Let Go synopsises the atmosphere and sound of the album: timeless, enduring Rock N Roll that that will maintain its integrity and appeal in any performance context.