5 December 2012
Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire
Ryan Adams - a name I heard before hearing him from friends who said he would be right up my street. His combination of folk and new hipster when he made his Gold album were charming many of my friends. But I stayed away - it is always the same, if I get told something is the best thing since the last thing that was the best thing, I want to hide and listen to Ben Folds albums on repeat. Always been the same, probably always will be. Yet he was not a name who I forgot and did eventually ended listening to - some of his albums torn fire across my soul, some of them made me wonder if he was from the jelly mould set in school. So when he announced his retirement in 2009 I thought - right, that is it and now here legacy is set as it is. But just like Kiss, the come back happened......obviously without the make up though.....
Upon it's release it gave him his UK best chart position (Number 9 in the top 100 albums as you ask), and dropped out just as quick. So now I have been trying to listen to this album for the last 5 months or so since I purchased it - and I still struggle with it. Now the struggle I have is not with the songs - "Do I Wait" is possibly his best song he has written this side of the Love Is Hell album. "Save Me" is just another wonder melodic sigh of a song which everyone could relate to when they have been on the wrong side of a bad night. "Rocks" does not rock out (nothing on this album is above a gentle pace) but it is a song of memories gone sung with a few friends and passing a bottle of what took their fancy when recording this (probably tea for Mr Adams as he was off the sauce when recording this album).
It is also not the length of the album, little under 45 minutes and with only 11 tracks it does not ask too much of you. I guess that it must either be one of two things here - One - Every time I have tried this, I have not been in the mood to be took on a journey of almost redemption and looking at ones life or - Two - It has something to do with the way it starts. For me at least whilst the first three tracks "Dirty Rain", "Come Home" and the title track just always seem to be not what I am expecting, yet I should be expecting them as I have heard them many many many times now. It's not the playing again, I just guess it is that it begins with Ryan trying to show where he has been, but he inadvertently seems to send me into a sugar crash induced coma until "Rocks" wakes me up gently.
As come backs go, it is not exactly all fireworks, drums and explosions. This is the equivalent of the quite man trying to get your attention at the bar when it is a busy Saturday, but is looked over for the cleavage monsters and loud gimps who barrage past with their arms on show. But there is something that makes me come back to it, I keep coming as I know there is something here waiting to be unlocked. It does grow on each listen and even the sugar coma trio are improving for me. It may become a top album one day, but that day is not today. Maybe soon, maybe not - but at least I will have a good soundtrack trying to find out.
6.5 out of 10 - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there
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