Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cardinology
Label: Lost Highway
Format: Vinyl, LP, Limited Edition (NEW)
Style: Country Rock, Classic Rock
Notes: Vinyl LP + Digital Download Code
A1 Born Into A Light
A2 Go Easy
A3 Fix It
A6 Let Us Down Easy
B1 Crossed Out Name
B2 Natural Ghost
B3 Sink Ships
B5 Like Yesterday
"RYAN ADAMS IS THE SONGWRITING GENIUS OF OUR MILLENIUM" proclaims one ecstatic reviewer on this page, while others on the opposite side of the spectrum urge the reader to go buy Cold Roses instead. Obviously this LP is divisive among the various camps of Ryan Adams fans, and that's surprising to me given how straightforward and pleasing this music sounds.
But then, I am a relative newcomer to the world of Ryan Adams and the Cardinals so perhaps there's more to this than I'd think.
This album is where I got back on the train and I'm happy I did so.
Adams is apparently one of those guys who has absorbed a lot of influences over the years. I'm not sure how old he is but I think he's probably at least about a half-decade younger than myself, which means he grew up in the era of alternative rock. However it's also clear that he's spent some time with classic rock as well - possibly the Grateful Dead and/or the Eagles - as well as the classic country stuff that formed the backbone of the Whiskeytown sound. Thus the album sounds both modern (the production is rich, not unlike a U2 record) and classic, which to me is appealing. Songs like "Cobwebs" reflect more of the 80s alt-rock influence, while "Go Easy" falls into more of the classic rock camp. The closing track "Stop" is beautiful and shows that Adams has learned something from whatever rehab he's been in. Somehow it all gels, the various threads coming together to create a song cycle that is appealing and sounds of a piece.
Now to finish where I started, this may be the closest thing we have to the "classic rock of the new milleneum," but I wouldn't call this a work of genius. It's just a good, solid album that I know I'll still enjoy years down the road, and that's enough to make me happy. It's also enough to make me want to check out Cold Roses and see what I've been missing. Score one for Adams - good job, mate.