Friday, December 2, 2011

Ryan Adams "Heartbreaker" (2000)

Looking back on this record, it almost sounds like you can hear it engaging with The Canon (tm).  The consensus seems to be that Radiohead is the last entry into the canon (the exact album seems to be up for debate), but I would nominate this as one of the entries from the aughties.  Adams steps away from the garagey sounds found on the Whiskeytown records, focusing instead on his ballads.  They are more polished than before, & David Rawling's production smoothes out the rough edges.  Listening to "Heartbreaker" now, you hear the blueprint for the myriad singer-songwriters of the last few years (not all of them are named Josh, but sometimes it does seem that way).  Songs like "To Be Young", "Oh My Sweet Carolina" & "Damn, Sam" are among the best he's ever written.  The songwriting & track selection show an efficiency that were unfortunately soon abandoned.  But future rock enthusiasts will be looking back on this record as one of the better releases of its time.

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