Sound — 10
Ryan Adams is definitely a very prolific artist, you can see that by the number of his releases that are due to be out this year -- "Cold Roses" that is already out, "Jacksonville City Nights" is slated to arrive this summer and "29" is expected in the fall. "Cold Roses," being the first of three Ryan Adams releases this year on Lost Highway Records, is a very good start. You never know what to expect from his schizophrenic personality. But for now it looks like he's settled down in his music live (at least for a while) -- he is focused on quiet music, without much fuss. "Cold Roses" is a double CD, featuring Ryan's new band The Cardinals (guitarists J.P. Bowersock and Cindy Cashdollar, drummer Brad Pemberton, and bassist Catherine Popper; with singer-songwriter Rachael Yamagata), was produced by Tom Schick. It was recorded in two different sessions at Loho Studios and you can see it by the way the two discs differ from each other. But both of them reveal a more mature Adams. You can hear the influence from some of his previous albums on "Cold Roses" -- "Sweet Illusions," "When Will You Come Back Home," "Dance All Night," "Cherry Lane," and "Let It Ride" songs sound like they belong to Whiskeytown and "Meadowlake Street," "Now That You're Gone," "How Do You Keep Love Alive," and "Rosebud" relate more to the intimate acoustic sound of Heartbreaker. "Vintage Beautiful Sorta" sounds like it was written for Gold. Still, there are some songs on the album that sound like typical Ryan Adams -- they sound like something he's never done before. You may expect the record to have some filler songs, being fooled by the double size of it, but there's not a single bad song here. The record is done in mid-tempo pace from the first song to the last one and it's packed with jam-friendly interludes, minor chords, addictive electric guitar licks and strummed guitars. The standout tracks are the single "Let It Ride" and "Dance All Night," which I absolutely love.
Lyrics — 10
That maybe the best part of the album. Adams is one of the few artists, who can take you to another world by his fairytale lyrics. He uses the beauty of language, which most songwriters forgot about long time ago and his imagery in particular is very vivid. Touching, heart spoken bittersweet lyrics about life and one failed relationship after another. They are certainly worth paying attention to not as an addition to music, but as an independent part of Adams' craftwork. Every song on the album tells you it's own personal painfully honest story. Adams' fans may have noticed how much of a vocal chameleon he is and here his voice is scratchier than in his past albums. He sings his songs with a soft, melodic voice, moaning some words and crying out others.
Overall Impression — 10
It was hard for me to write a review on this one 'cause everything is so perfectly made. I've never listened to any other Adams' records before, so I didn't have any prejudices about his other albums or his personal freaks and didn't belong to his "lovers" or "haters" club when I started listening to the album. When I got this CD I digged some of his previous works though to get a basic idea if they as good as this one. The first couple of songs I was listening to driving my car and thinking about something else and the music didn't impress me. But then I started to pay attention to what's in my headphones, and I realized how beautiful the thing is. The album is like a flower -- you may not notice it at night, when the bud is closed and it looks like a grass, without any bright colors. But if you look at it in the morning, when the bud only starts to open up, still having some drops of dew, if you smell it and watch how it reaches for the sunray, you'll realize how beautiful it is. S--t, I didn't even notice how I turned into a sentimental little girl. That's all music. Anyway, what I wanted to say -- don't listen to it if you're not in a melancholic-poetic-thinking mood. You won't like it. I really like the CD cover -- I just like holding it in my hands. It looks like it's made of fabric or leather. Something, but not paper. And it is the first Ryan Adams record not to feature a picture of him on the cover. His website is also supporting the idea of the CD now. I got all involved in that game with bottles in the pub. Check it out! Maybe it's all about finding a new group of musicians for his backing band. Anyway, they fitted well and he actually co-wrote all the songs with The Cardinals. They gave some fresh blood to his music.