It has been three years since we last had a new Ryan Adams record come out. And, while that may be a normal amount of time between albums for most artists of this genre, for Adams it’s both unusual and unbearably long. However, his latest album, aptly titled Ryan Adams is about as Ryan Adams as one can get. How many times I can say Ryan Adams before it gets annoying? What I mean is, Adams has put out a solid record that is instinctively his, both stylistically and musically, despite obvious influences from other artists like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen throughout. However, Ryan Adams does not offer anything uniquely different from what we have heard before. That doesn’t mean it is a bad album, though. Fans of Adams will no doubt enjoy the new release.
“Gimme Something Good” is the opener of the album and one of its highlights. From the outset, you can hear the Petty influences as Adams sets the dramatic tone of the album with strong roots-rock guitars and dark lyrics “So I can’t talk/I got nothing to say/It’s like there’s no tomorrow/barely yesterday.”
Another notable track is “My Wrecking Ball,” a totally stripped down acoustic track reminiscent of Heartbreaker. It is simplistic, especially compared to the rest of the album, but it is effective. The emotional intensity of the song is incredible, making it one of the best on the album.
Ryan Adams is almost like a trip back to the 80’s with its classic rock vibe. It is distinctively Adams but not uniquely his own, making this album good but not great.