9 January 2013

Ryan Adams - Love Is Hell


Hipster - a hated word in some circles, revered in others.  Usually it is aimed at those people who just seem to give off this vibe of cool without even trying. They may look like they have just climbed out of bed, chuckled some dye on their hair and they will still seem to be better than you.  Also it is levelled at musicians and they seem to be tainted by that attachment.  Ryan Adams was one of those artists up here in the North East of England for a while.  The man had just came off the release of three successive albums (Gold, Demolition and Rock & Roll) all within the space of three years and the man just seemed to be everywhere. For many a moon I held him to be some sort of devil and avoided him like the plague.  Then I bought this.....

A little bit of background on the making of this compilation album.  Because it is a compilation album, made of the two Love Is Hell eps - Adams' record company though the album would not be financially viable at the time and that releasing it as two eps would be better, much to the dismay of the artist.  Anyway, when the two eps were released, they sold out - pretty much instantly. Then after a while the complication was released and did not sell as well due to the fact people already had the material. Great marketing as ever from a record company.

The track listing for the album is pretty much like the eps (minus a couple of bonus tracks) - first 9 songs are from LIH Part 1 & next 7 from LIH Part 2.  This album (which he has said is the record he wanted to release) shows a man at his creative peak for me.  The starting 8 songs (which include the title track "This House Is Not For Sale" and the cover of "Wonderwall" originally by Oasis - a song which even it's creator has stated that Mr Adams' has made his own") are just a towering beginning to an album.  But because of this, the second eight seem a little bit more reserved, held back in some ways.  This is not to say that they are not as good as the first half - far from the fact on that one - it is just that they are a different beast compared to the beginning of the album.  Maybe a mixing up of the sequence could have improved this, but this is just a finer details in trying to find a counter balance to the praise of the album.

So, once I bought this was I suddenly a hipster?  Nope, still a plain old Joe with a bad dress sense and too many band t-shirts.  The hipsters had moved on by the point at which I had bought the album, but it was their lost.  This is such a good record it seems harsh to have been so down on him at the time.  Granted I'm still not overally fussed by some of his earlier outings, but this is a pinnacle in his collection that it has in someways been something that he may find hard to beat.  But if I was to have a record that define my work, this would be the type of record I would want. Nearly perfect even after it's delayed completion.

9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect....Almost


You can purchase from here

You can listen to on Spotify here

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