5 September 2013

5th September - Ryan Adams' Heartbreaker

Artist – Album: Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
Released:  5th September 2000
Sounds Like: The life of Ryan

I don’t know about you, but I had my doubts when I saw that the first track on Heartbreaker is an argument about Morrissey. It doesn’t fill me with particularly high hopes that the rest of the songs are going to be full of quality and creativity if you chose to lead with a pointless conversation. However, whilst I don’t know how many other albums there are that begin with a Mozza debate, I can tell you this: out of the one albums that I know of that begin this way, 100% of them are great.

Ryan Adams famously has an ego the size of Carolina but even that must have taken a bit of a battering when his critically acclaimed but volatile group Whiskeytown finally imploded in 1999. He barely showed it though, and it wasn’t long before he bounced back with this, his first solo effort. And there’s enough good stuff here to support the courage of his conviction: ‘To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)’ is a rip-roaring rocker, ‘My Winding Wheel’ is a giddy love song and ‘Amy’ is a song of quiet resignation, suggesting those winding wheels may have come off somewhere in-between. There are also some stellar collaborations to enjoy, from the various contributions of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, to his hooking up with the golden voiced Emmylou Harris on ‘Oh My Sweet Carolina. Come Pick Me Up’ is possibly the album highlight, a gorgeous, modern country song which was listed in Pitchfork Media’s top 500 tracks of the 2000s.

Heartbreaker helped to make Ryan Adams a star, and he became the poster boy of the final era of the alt-country movement. Later albums found him moving away from his country roots with varying success – the rock and pop of second album Gold was a resounding success, but the sketchy hard rock and punk of Rock and Roll is best ignored – but he’s so far yet to better this.

Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       (Argument with David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey) – 0:37
2.       To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High) – 3:04
3.       My Winding Wheel – 3:13
4.       Amy – 3:46
5.       Oh My Sweet Carolina – 4:57
6.       Bartering Lines – 3:59
7.       Call Me On Your Way Back Home – 3:09
8.       Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains) – 2:08
9.       Come Pick Me Up – 5:18
10.   To Be the One – 3:01
11.   Why Do They Leave? – 3:38
12.   Shakedown on 9th Street – 2:53
13.   Don’t Ask for the Water – 2:56
14.   In My Time of Need – 5:39
15.   Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st) – 3:39

Listen to ‘My Winding Wheel’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIeLrcD672M

Also released on 5th September:
2005: Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
Also released on 5th September:
2006: Grizzly Bear – Yellow House

Also released on 5th September:
2007: Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala

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