Ryan Adams
Gold


4.0
excellent

Review

by Amanda Murray STAFF
April 23rd, 2005 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist


Ryan Adams shouldn't even be famous. I should never have heard of him, I should never have listened to (or loved) any of his albums. Yet the American radio is an interesting thing, and Adams' shot to Adult Contemporary stardom (if such a thing exists?) after 9/11 with his convenient "New York, New York". Everybody and their dog seemed to ignore the fact that the patriotic, America-supporting Adams image they had fabricated had just released an album featured an upside-down American flag on the cover (disrespect if I've ever seen it), but this is still a very "American" album which suited the times. From New York to his homestate of South Carolina to Hollywood Blvd., his right place/right time luck helped Adams to become a Rolling Stone God. Gold doesn't quite live up to the massive Rolling Stone hype (how could anybody? You know how those magazines are), but it is still a great album in it's own right.

I purchased this album after downloading "Oh My Sweet Carolina" and "To Be Young" (which as luck would have it aren't even on this album), but as it turns out Gold is a fairly consistent transition from Adams' debut solo album Heartbreaker. "New York, New York" made this album a bigger hit than it should have been among the Adult Contemporary crowd, and I still think the best genre to squeeze this album into is Alternative Country.

One commonly recognised detriment of this album is that Adams seems more of an imitator than an original artist in his own right (and not just on this album). Sure, influences are notable (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and contemporaries such as Wilco), but it's part of the charm of the album. No two songs sound alike; there can be no "every song sounds the same" complaints about this album. That being said, it can be argued that the album lacks cohesiveness and flow. Looking over, it does sometimes feel like a collection of songs than a complete album, but that can be argued for nearly every record nowadays.

This isn't a classic album, I'm the first to admit. But it's listenable, certainly for people who eschew the entire country genre - this is an accessible alternative with noticeable "country" roots, which might serve as an entry point into discovering the genre, slowly. But it isn't a classic. It might define the Alternative Country genre hailed to be the "next big thing" in the late 90s and early 00s, which acts such as Whiskeytown (formerly fronted by Adams), Wilco, and Adams himself.

It should be noted that this album has a second disc with 5 songs, but they are all largely forgettable. Adams should consider the phrase less is more. He has unusually prolific songwriting habits (this album alone has 21 songs, he has released 5 records in 4 years and is expected to release another 3 this year). While this mass of material is great for fans, some of it is questionable and slightly more work and elaboration might not do the songs harm.

I personally wouldn't consider this to be Adams' best album (that honour belongs to Love is Hell). But this is a listenable album which I would recommend to fans of the genre.

4/5

Recommended Tracks:
The lead single New York, New York is an obvious choice, but it isn't even the strongest song on the album. Personal favourites are the understated When the Stars Go Blue, country-tinged Firecracker, and La Cienega Just Smiled.



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Chart.
3.9
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other reviews of this album
Dr Dave De Sylvia STAFF (3)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
br3ad_man
Emeritus
April 26th 2005


2125 Comments


Good review Moz. Ryan is the man.

Little Man being Erased
April 26th 2005


87 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I give Gold a 4.5, but I love all of his albums (except maybe Rock N' Roll).This Message Edited On 05.17.05

Senor_Whippy
October 8th 2005


367 Comments


I love this record as much as love cranberry juice.....a lot.

morrissey
Moderator
October 17th 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need to edit those slashes out, I never noticed them before.

Yeah this album is hot, I negelect it now that I've found better Ryan Adams records to drool over but this is great. Everything I have to say about the album has pretty much been said in the review, but nice to see another fan.

morrissey
Moderator
December 16th 2005


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm just thinking over Adams' career and his discs per year ratio is just ridiculous. 8 records in 5 years? A few of them are even double albums (though Gold and Love is Hell probably don't count as double albums). This guy must get paid on a per song basis.

mx
Moderator
January 27th 2006


733 Comments


"I remember Christmas in the blistering cold, and the church on the upper West side..."

Steoandnoodles
March 30th 2011


2832 Comments


I wish Ryan Adams would go back to making albums this good. =/

BigHans
March 30th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

La Cienga Just Smiled is one of my favorite songs of all time.

Steoandnoodles
March 30th 2011


2832 Comments


That's a beautiful song. I love Wild Flowers and The Rescue Blues as well.

BigHans
March 30th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Firecracker and New York rule too. Pretty boss album. If you like this you should check out his side project:

Whiskeytown - Strangers Almanac

Steoandnoodles
March 30th 2011


2832 Comments


Already have. Rated Strangers Almanac a 3.5/5 and Pneumonia a 4.5/5 =)

To be honest, I think some of his solo stuff fell short of his band: WhiskeyTown.

BigHans
March 30th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah at times I would agree

Steoandnoodles
May 20th 2011


2832 Comments


Arguably still his best album next to Love is Hell and Heartbreaker.

Just gave this a listen for the first time in a while. =)
Still a lovely album.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
February 11th 2012


1477 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Every time I listen to this it sounds more and more like a classic. So now it is. Seeing Ryan solo in March. It's going to be golden.

Steoandnoodles
February 11th 2012


2832 Comments


Haven't given this a spin in a while. Might do so tomorrow.



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