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Demolition

Ryan Adams

Release Date: 09.24.02
Record label: Lost Highway
Genre(s): Rock

60 Music-Critic Score
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What a Clever Name
by: bill aicher


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 folk-rocker.


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?)


Anyway, Demolition 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.


Still, it's 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.


When all's 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.


As always, 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 to come.


Either that, or he's pompous and just likes the attention of putting out an album a year. We're not quite sure. 24-Sep-2002 9:40 PM.