label: Lost Highway
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
3. You Will Always Be The Same
5. Cry On Demand
6. Starting To Hurt
7. She Wants To Play Hearts
8. Tennessee Sucks
9. Dear Chicago
10. Gimme A Sign
12. Chin Up, Cheer Up
13. Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)
It's been just
under a year (365 days to be exact - but this year was a leap
year) since Ryan Adams released Gold, the album by which
he truly broke into the mainstream music collective. Over this
time Adams has gone from former-Whiskeytown frontman to having
his "New York" become an anthem for the 9/11 attacks,
and having his "When The Stars Go Blue" be performed
live by The Corrs with Bono. Now that's quite a year for countrified
During this time
(and in the time before) Adams also managed to record a crapload
of demos. Originally toying with the idea of releasing these 60
tracks over four discs, his label (luckily) opted to trim these
down to thirteen - the results of which being Demolition.
(Get it? "Demo"-lition?
Pretty clever, eh?)
follows in a much similar vein as Gold, and given the
quality, could have rightly been Gold's true follow-up.
As is usual with Adams, the high points are many, but are most
prevalent on the album's lighter moments. The simple piano and
guitar of "Cry On Demand" and the tongue-in-cheek lyrical
balladry of "Tennesee Sucks" offer Adams at his most
impressive. The Smiths-rock of "Starting to Hurt," doesn't
fare too badly either. The minimalist depression of the closing
"Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)," however, is one of Adams
finest (and bravest) moments ever.
not all praises of glory for Adams. As a set of what's really
just a bunch of outtakes, there are the inevitable bombs. The
opening "Nuclear" shows why Adams is not really a rock
star: he just can't rock out that well. The guitar riff of "Dear
Chicago" bears a striking similarity to Dog's Eye View (remember
them?), and that's just not all that cool.
said and done though, it still has to be remembered that this
is a collection of demos. And as demos, these sound unbelievably
well-produced. It's not just Adams with a guitar here. Nope, there's
plenty of instrumentation (although not quite the amount of layering
you'd find on real releases). Plus, these tracks must
have been mastered to hell to sound so good.
Demolition is really a showcase for Adams' songwriting
skills. He's absolutely one of today's most prolific (Beth Orton
could vouch for that), and Demolition is no exception.
For a man to consider songs with this much lyrical quality
to be his lesser, a man's got to have some seriously good things
or he's pompous and just likes the attention of putting out an
album a year. We're not quite sure.