Ryan Adams is a rather prolific songwriter, one who prefers to act fast and release material, rather than labouring over every detail. Some argue that there is a quality v. quantity issue here. Sure fans get lots of material (Adams is due to release three
albums this year. Compare that to your average band who release an album every 2 years), but are the songs any good"
is perfect evidence that Adams can deliver. A collection of B-sides, this album still beats out most records. The songs are basic, but good. It can be argued that if Adams expanded upon these simple bases and created elaborate pieces of work, he might have a better product. While I don't disagree, the songs on Demolition
stand perfectly well without elaboration.
One of the most common statements about Adams is that he borrows too often from his influences, not so much musically or lyrically, but he tries to mimic their style. Demolition
indicates a transitional period for
Adams, and it is clear that he is beginning to come into his own as a songwriter. There are moments when one can sense the Neil Young or Bob Dylan influence, but this album feels like a Ryan Adams album for once, not an attempt to pay homage to his idols. It would take him another two albums to finally reach a musical landmark (2004's Love is Hell
, but this shows early evidence of a transition.
Highlight songs include the opener "Nuclear", the delicate country-tinged "Cry on Demand", and rockier "Starting to Hurt". This album is closer to its predecessor Gold
than the subsequent Rock n Roll
, definitely more centred in Alt Country than in Rock music. Acoustic guitars are prevalent, as are harmonicas and pedal steel guitars, clearly denoting the country influences.
That being said, Demolition
has no "great" songs. Good songs, absolutely. But this is a collection of B-sides, remember. They would fit well on Gold
, but wouldn't be standout tracks. So unless you're already an Adams fan, this isn't the best album to pick up. But for fans interested in the transition from the Alt Country of Gold
to the Rock and Roll of the aptly titled Rock n Roll
, this is a good purchase.
This was a short review, I'll probably expand on it with track reviews of some of the better songs when I get time.
3/5 for fans of the genre.