Ryan Adams
III/IV


3.5
great

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
December 27th, 2010 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ryan Adams releases twenty one "new" songs, the world continues to spin.

Ryan Adams has an enviable creative drive, to put it mildly. Thirteen studio albums in ten years, three in 2005 alone, not to mention three records with his previous band Whiskeytown and countless EPs and side recordings, some slightly better regarded than others. Adams could probably take a *** and come up with a gem of a pop hook, but Adams seems to lack that which most of us were blessed with at birth: bowel control. Take his earlier 2010 release Orion, which Adams characterized as a “fully-realized sci-fi metal concept album” and which was, coincidentally, absolutely terrible. Aside from that, Adams’ has been strangely quiet the past couple of years until III/IV, which, being a lump sum of demos from the same sessions as 2007’s Easy Tiger, can’t even really be considered new material. And, of course, it’s a double album clocking in at over an hour. Even Adams’ storage closet demos don’t know when to shut up.

Unlike Easy Tiger, which showed off Adams’ bland adult contemporary side more often than not, III/IV takes a page out of 2003’s Rock N Roll, although not as blatantly plagiarized as that record tended to be. Another difference from that straightforward genre exercise, happily enough, is that III/IV, for all its self-indulgent length, actually contains more diamonds than turds (for my own sake I’m not counting the extra seventeen bonus tracks/demos available online). For all of Adams’ bull and lack of an editor, anyone familiar with his discography can tell that, aside from being a great songwriter more often than not, Adams’ never just throws something together and calls it a day; each song here shows care and a delicate craft; even the seemingly-tossed off “Stop Playing With My Heart” shows a firm grasp of melody and a hook lesser artists would kill for. The ace musicianship of the Cardinals helps, refining the alt-rock framework here and occasionally adding a unique touch as Catherine Popper does with her vocal work on “Numbers.”

Of course, most of III/IV come off as what you’d expect; a massive talent messing around in the studio and crafting some perfectly serviceable rock tunes. It’s the oddballs here that make III/IV a success: the Love Is Hell flashback on “Ultraviolet Light;” the strangely charming pop of “Star Wars;” the anthemic “No,” which proves that Adams can still write a killer chorus with the best of them. Then something like “Icebreaker” will come up, an aspiring metal effort that quickly turns into an accidental gag. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Adams, a smattering of bad amongst a general sea of good, sprinkled with some truly fantastic songs as if Adams almost forgot to add those as he was walking out the studio door. III/IV isn’t anything amazing, but it is something to enjoy no doubt as it was intended, as a guileless rock ‘n roll record, just some songs Adams wants us to hear. Indeed, the best part about III/IV is just how it whets the appetite for future releases, maybe one where Adams doesn’t *** around quite as much and focuses for a solid ten or eleven songs. Hey, a fan can dream.



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
2.8
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

few artists frustrate me more

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


17222 Comments


my mom absolutely adores easy tiger.

Ponton
Emeritus
December 27th 2010


5804 Comments


love is hell ftw


klap
Staff Reviewer
December 27th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is probably a 3 but i'm giving him a half point from my personal place

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 28th 2010


3772 Comments


Haha, I love how resigned this review is.

Digging: The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends

cvlts
December 28th 2010


8967 Comments


Adams could probably take a *** and come up with a gem of a pop hook, but Adams seems to lack
that which most of us were blessed with at birth: bowel control.

omg help hahahahahahahaaa

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

resignation is actually the perfect keyword for this

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
December 28th 2010


3772 Comments


I can practically hear you sighing.

DoubtGin
December 28th 2010


6752 Comments


his debut is pretty amazing

GulliKyro
December 28th 2010


357 Comments


It would be nice if the lad decided on a single moniker to perform under.

DoctorNurse
December 28th 2010


475 Comments


love is hell ftw


I concur

BigHans
December 28th 2010


26454 Comments


Interesting. "La Cienega Just Smiled" off Gold is one of my favorite songs

1drummer
December 28th 2010


325 Comments


Everything he did before "29"

FTW.

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

truth 29 was terrible. Cold roses is my favorite

DoctorNurse
December 28th 2010


475 Comments


29 and nightbirds were decent songs..

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

agreed

Spec
December 28th 2010


27189 Comments


This isn't Bryan Adams at all.

sniper
December 29th 2010


19076 Comments


summary screams for a semi-colon.

Edit: review is good though.

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 29th 2010


10498 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i find the use of proper grammar in summaries distasteful

Jom
Staff Reviewer
December 30th 2010


2688 Comments


So many good lines in this review.



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