All ash and no fire. A new Ryan Adams is no longer news
considering the former Whiskeytown auteur’s solo career has primed the pump
relentlessly, leaving no song idea that washes up unrecorded. This latest
entry, his 12th in 12 years, is more cohesive than the filler
collections of years past: fragile ballads (“Come Home,” “Save Me”), slow
burners (“Dirty Rain”) and a song called “Rocks” that, laced with strings,
wisely doesn’t, are examples of the rainy day mood draped from start to finish.
The haunting “Chains of Love” stands above the rest of this set, which doesn’t
stray from the same droopy tempos and lyrical blahs.
Eying age 40, Adams seems
to be acknowledging his adulthood with adult contemporary tedium. But despite
the obvious care for craftsmanship, no standouts emerge. Instead, this is
strictly mood music that takes the edge off. And how.
of Love,” “Dirty Rain” MARK GUARINO