Ryan Adams
Love is Hell


5.0
classic

Review

by Tapeworm USER (12 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 44 replies | 11,032 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

This album was originally released as two EP's. Well, originally it was recorded as an album, but the record complany didn't want to let him release it. So he went off to a shack somewhere and screwed around and had some fun making the ever-so-disliked-by-critics "KcorNLlor". The record company didn't want "Love Is Hell" to be counted as an album release, and compromised by releasing it as two EP's. These EP's sold so well in the first 5 months that the record company was proven wrong, and "Love is Hell" was released as an album.

After leaving Whiskeytown, this is Adams' fourth solo effort, and his best to date. Departing a lot more from the country tinge, but still holding some of it, Adams creates a gentle but stirring record of immense beauty.


Track by Track:
01 Political Scientist
A beuatiful song to start the album. Simple piano chord progression, with story-like lyrics. Realy insistant singing, and then a really nice chorus comes in. The song changes up completely about half way through, and really takes off. This song is brilliant. 5/5

02 Afraid Not Scared
Acoustic guitar work here is really cool and simple, and Adams' voice just soars above it the whole time. Some drums come in, and you think you've got a chorus, and then the real chorus comes in, and it is one of my favourite choruses ever. "I'm getting really cold and I'm looking at you". It is incredibly emotional, and his voice is just straining, and its wonderful. 5/5

03 This house is not for sale
This track isn't quite as good as the first two, but is still rather good. The song is one big metaphor for feeling like someone's taking something from you that you are not willing to give. It is really drum driven, and acoustic based, and it flows together really really well. 4/5

04 Anybody Wanna Take Me Home
This song was actually allowd onto "Rock N Roll", but seemed very out of place there. It fits perfectly here, and begins with some really cool picked out electric guitar. The pre chorus part is really cool, and the chorus again sees Adams' voice soaring above the music, and to a great effect. The post chorus part is my favourite part of the song, even if the lyrics are a little weak. 4.5/5

05 Love Is Hell
This song comes out strong, and then drops off to nothing but a floor tom in the verses, with some weird chords strummed every now and then. The lyrics are really cool, and the chorus is one of my favourites on the record. This song is brilliant musically, and lyrically. The edge on his voice in the chorus is awesome. 5/5

06 Wonderwall
My second favourite cover of all time. I heard somewhere that Oasis now actually play this version of the song. He keeps it low and quiet for about half the song, much longer than in the original. The way he sings the song is so delicate, and gives it so much more feeling than it originally had in my opinon. Extra instruments come in one at a time (high fingerpicked guitar, bass, piano). 5/5

07 The Shadowland
This song is piano based, and is close to being my favourite on the record. The lyrics are incredible, and again, are rather story based. The great thing about this album is that, judging by the title, you'd think that all the songs are about Adams' failed relationships, but some of them (like this one) are about really screwed up marriages, and abuse. There is a slight effect on his voice for a lot of the song, and when the effect comes off, the song gets brilliant. A cello comes in, and some acoustic guitar, and an electric guitar that peeps in and out. A simple drumbeat drives this song to a really great solo, and end. 5/5

08 World War 24
This song has a really good acoustic part, and is rather upbeat sounding. The chorus is pretty awesome, but I can't really discern what it is about. The bridge part is where the song gets good, and the ensuing cries of "I'm all yours" are the highlight. 4/5

09 Avalanche
Another one of my favourite tracks. Really nice piano, and a laid back drum beat. The lyrics are sooooo nice. The chorus comes in, and it is really beautiful. The part after the chorus, when Adams' says "When it's over" is one of the best moments I know. An electric guitar fades in, in a really weird way, and it is just perfect. 5/5

10 My Blue Manhattan
The first track off the second EP. This song is really really atmospheric. There are some really unexpected chord sequences, and his singing at the start is high pitched and really gentle. He drifts in and out of the high pitched-ness, and this song works really well. A violin comes in and adds beauty, and argh, it's so good. 5/5

11 Please Do Not Let Me Go
A country tinged song, with little bits of slide guitar. This song holds a link to Adams' 2001 album "Gold". The lyrics are really cool. Again, the range of the love theme is stretched. Sort of. The rhythm of the acoustic, and the guitar playing in general in this song, is really great. And it comes through nicely. Best part: Adams sneering "True love ain't that hard to find. Not that you will ever know..." 4/5

12 City Rain, City Street
This song is upbeat, with electric guitars powering it. He sings about a city, obviously, and this song is really visual. It is a weaker point of the album, but still ranges and changes a lot in it's allotted time, and the point just after half way is where it takes off. A really great line comes in, and it gets good. 3.5/5

13 I See Monsters
This song is brilliant. The acoustic playing is absolutely cool. The singing matches the strange acoustic riff very well, and the pre chorus is stunning. Adams' voice alone holds so much delicate power, and we really see that in this track. The key changes, and the song gets absolutely friggin' incredible. I love it. 5/5

14 English Girls Aproximately
This song doesn't feel like it fits particularly well, and is another throwback to "Gold". It is Adams singing about English girls, pretty much. The start could easily put you off, but again, this song gets really good. The vocals make the song sound really edged out country. This song though, is a low point. 3.5/5

15 Thank You Louise
This song is brilliant, again. The vocals in the verses are just soooo good. The first two lines see the vocals slide up and down in a delicate scale, and then piano and violin come in for a short chorus. This song is just so (dare I say it again) beautiful! 5/5

16 Hotel Chelsea nights
This song is rather good, and the vocals sound really cool. I have seen a few reviews which say that this song sucks, but I really like it. The singing is classic Adams, and it has some cool organ, and the chorus is really really cool. It sounds like something else he's done in the past in a way. It's another low point on a very high album. 3.75/5

I know I rated a lot of songs a 5, but I just couldn't bare to see them with a lower rating. The thing with this album was that when I reviewed it, I really wanted to hear a song that wasn't very good, just so my review would actually sound proper. As it stands now it looks really biased, but this is one of my favourite albums ever, and I think that Ryan Adams is really really brilliant.

5/5

:thumb:



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user ratings (114)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
September 5th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent review. I was hoping somebody would review this soon.

Tomahawk
October 10th 2004



124 Comments


I'm liking this CD right now. It's the only Ryan Adams thing I've heard though. I read some bad things about him in reviews and stuff, so I never really bothered to check him out for a while, but this CD is really solid.

"The Shadowlands" reminds me of "Here Comes the Flood" by Peter Gabriel (the piano version, not the original prog-ish version). Which is good, because I friggin love that Gabriel song.

And yeah, great review.

mx
Moderator
December 6th 2004



733 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This CD is constantly in my player
"Shadowlands","Chelsea Nights," and "Wonderwall" are tops

morrissey
Moderator
December 6th 2004



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I hadn't touched this CD in a while, but I ended up listening to it last night... and I remembered what a great CD it was. The highlights were mentioned above... I also like "Anbody Wanna Take Me Home".. it was on "Rock and Roll" as well.

Anyways good review. I would say 4.5/5, it isn't exactly an essential album, but its pretty **** close.

Griffith
December 6th 2004



15 Comments


I really love what I've heard from this, and hope to pick up the disc real soon.

Great review.

Bartender
Emeritus
December 6th 2004



826 Comments


Does Ryan Adams have a strong Southern (American south, that is) accent? I have a person in my mind when I think of his name, but I don't know if it's him I'm thinking of, or Jason Ringenberger.

Zesty Mordant
December 6th 2004



1196 Comments


good review, i've been meaning to get into him for awhile and this review has somewhat resparked that interest.

what album of his is best recommended?

Tapeworm
December 6th 2004



118 Comments


Yes, he has a southern accent. He used to be in the Alt/Country band Whiskeytown, and his solo albums progressed from being very country influenced to this.

moderaterock222
December 7th 2004



121 Comments


I've always loved Ryan Adams. This to me though, stands firmly has his greatest piece of work. I can't name a bad song on it, and Ryan is such a talented man. Shadowlands has one of my favourite guitar solos ever in it. I think he's such an understated guitarist.
Awesome review for one of my favourite albums

If i remember correctly too, i think i made tomahawk download shadowlands with the forced listening shiznit:D

ATC
December 7th 2004



42 Comments


i've only got gold and rock n roll.
but this goes in the cds to get soon file.
he's such an underrated musician.

Iai
Emeritus
December 7th 2004



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[QUOTE=Tapeworm]Yes, he has a southern accent. He used to be in the Alt/Country band Whiskeytown, and his solo albums progressed from being very country influenced to this.[/QUOTE]
I was just gonna bring that up. What/who are Whiskeytown like? Worth checking out?

morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[QUOTE=rory_breaker]good review, i've been meaning to get into him for awhile and this review has somewhat resparked that interest.

what album of his is best recommended?[/QUOTE]

I would probably say this is most recommended, but it depends on what kind of music you are into. His first album (Heartbreaker, I think?) was more alt-country, so was "Gold" (which is an excellent album). I don't own "Demolition", I don't know what it is like, so I can't recommend it.

"Rock and Roll" is a more.. "rock" album, I like it, but some people don't.

Anyways, I would recommend getting Love is Hell. Its pretty mellow throughout most of it, it is an excellent CD.

Welcometothezoo
December 7th 2004



36 Comments


[QUOTE=Iai]I was just gonna bring that up. What/who are Whiskeytown like? Worth checking out?[/QUOTE]

If you like Ryan Adams, then yes, as the lead singer is Ryan Adams.the band's style is similar to Adams' earlier stuff, it runs along with the country essence but with a modern alternative direction. I have the album 'Pneumonia', it has some very good songs on it - check it out.

Welcometothezoo
December 7th 2004



36 Comments


[QUOTE=rory_breaker]good review, i've been meaning to get into him for awhile and this review has somewhat resparked that interest.

what album of his is best recommended?[/QUOTE]

Yeh 'Love is Hell' is the safer option to go with first. Morrissey says he/she hasn't heard 'Demolition' - it's outstanding, i couldn't recommend it highly enough. I got into Ryan Adams the wrong way round, i got 'Rock 'n' Roll' and then 'Gold' - major contrast!

Tapeworm, the lyrics of 'Anybody Wanna Take Me Home' are not weak! I think they're brilliant, they're classic slightly neurotic Ryan Adams lyrics, full of youthful angst.

"I am in the twilight of my youth,
Not that i'm going to remember,
Dancing slowly and finding the truth,
And It's covered in coma."

morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[QUOTE=Welcometothezoo]Yeh 'Love is Hell' is the safer option to go with first. Morrissey says he/she hasn't heard 'Demolition' - it's outstanding, i couldn't recommend it highly enough. I got into Ryan Adams the wrong way round, i got 'Rock 'n' Roll' and then 'Gold' - major contrast![/QUOTE]

what is demolition's style? Is it more like Gold or Rock n Roll? I think I should pick it up.

Welcometothezoo
December 7th 2004



36 Comments


[QUOTE=morrissey]what is demolition's style? Is it more like Gold or Rock n Roll? I think I should pick it up.[/QUOTE]

Demolition contains a style closer to Gold and Heartbreaker. But in a sense it has something of a style of it's own, hence why it's an album comprised of 'misfits' - songs that he chose not to put on Gold or Heartbreaker due to their differing style. It has some down right upbeat country, but is mostly some of the most brilliant slow accoustic songs you'll ever hear. You gotta get it!

morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

alright, you've convinced me :evil:

It is now on my Christmas wishlist, thanks :thumb:

Welcometothezoo
December 7th 2004



36 Comments


[QUOTE=morrissey]alright, you've convinced me :evil:

It is now on my Christmas wishlist, thanks :thumb:[/QUOTE]

lol, cool. hehe i'll be seeing Morrissey on the 17th.

morrissey
Moderator
December 7th 2004



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[QUOTE=Welcometothezoo]lol, cool. hehe i'll be seeing Morrissey on the 17th.[/QUOTE]

I don't want to spam up this thread, but you are a lucky girl/boy. It should be awesome. I saw him in October for the first time, and it was great :thumb:

Tapeworm
December 8th 2004



118 Comments


Demolition is a b-sides album isn't it?

Oh, and with the weak lyrics part, I think I just meant in that one part (post chorus). Maybe. It was a long time ago. :confused:



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