Wednesday, October 29, 2008

By Request- Ryan Adams

When reading anything about alt-country singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, you will see the word "prolific." In an age when it's rare to see musicians release an album even every two years, Adams has released ten over the past eight. There are solo albums such as the artist-defining Heartbreaker as well as albums recorded with his band, the Cardinals (such as Cardinology, released just yesterday). Adams & the Cardinals are going to be on tour starting next month with Oasis, should be quality.

By request, here's a rundown of some of my favorite Ryan Adams songs.

"New York, New York"- An Adams essential off his breakthrough album Gold. Released two weeks after 9/11, "New York, New York" became the soundtrack to many a TV montage due to the final line of the chorus: "I still you you, New York."
Best line: "Lived in an apartment out on Avenue A/ I had a tar-hut on the corner of 10th/ Had myself a lover who was finer than gold/ But I've been broken up and busted up since."

"When the Stars Go Blue"- Often thought to be written by either a star of the CW's "One Tree Hill" or by country mega-star Tim McGraw, Adams is actually the genius behind this sleepy, gorgeous song. In my opinion, the aforementioned singers butchered the pleading original.
Best line: "Where do you go when you're lonely? I'll follow you."

"Dear Chicago"- One part love letter, one part lullaby, and ten parts gorgeous; "Dear Chicago" is perhaps one of Adams's most achingly beautiful songs, both melodically and lyrically. The strummed acoustics complement the forlorn lyrics perfectly. As is embodying the lyrics "Happy and sad and back again," when the lyrics turn hopeful ("I think that I've fallen out of love with you") toward the end, the guitars do the same with escalating chords and a singing violin.
Best line: "I've been thinking some of suicide, but there's bars out here for miles."

"Come Pick Me Up"- In this sardonic and sarcastic break-up song, Adams invites his ex-lover to screw him over in multiple ways (stealing records, screwing his friends). Even with his sneer, Adams sounds painfully sincere, as if despite these sins he still does want her back.
Best line: "Come pick me up/ Take me out/ Fuck me up/ Steal all my records/ Screw all my friends behind my back/ With a smile on your face/ And then do it again."

"Damn Sam (I Love A Woman That Rains)"- A standout track from Adams's debut. Lyrically it's difficult to decipher, but one thing is for sure: it's a love song, probably asserting that constant happiness (even in a woman) is dull.
Best line: "I'm as calm as a fruit stand in New York and maybe as strange."

"Let It Ride"- One of Adams's more country-leaning tunes. Sounds like something written by a roaming cowboy fueled by tobacco and alcohol.
Best line: "I wanna see you tonight, dancing in the endless moonlight/ In the parking lot, in the headlights of cars/ Someplace over the moon where they moved the drive-in theater/ Where I left the car that I can't find that I still got the keys to."

"Wonderwall"- A cover of tourmate Oasis's hit 90's single. Adams turns the britpop ballad into a haunting acoustic echo of a song.
Best line: Duh. "I said maybe, you're gonna be the one who saves me/ And after all, you're my Wonderwall."
"Burning Photographs"- An upbeat song about a dying relationship off of Adams's pop-leaning record, Rock N Roll. If any song had mainstream radio potential, this would probably be the one. Naturally, it has too much sould to be embraced by the FM waves.
Best line: "Pretty pictures in a magazine/ Everybody is so make believe, it's true/ I used to be sad now I'm just bored with you."

Ryan Adams tunes

As said before, Ryan Adams is a prolific songwriter, so picking a few songs to share was a daunting task, but I think I chose eight that span the corners of his career. Hope these songs spark a love of the artist!