Home Read Classic Album Review: Ryan Adams | Demolition

Classic Album Review: Ryan Adams | Demolition

The alt-country star makes up for lost time with a collection of outstanding outtakes.

This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


An emerging solo artist who puts out an album of demos after a big hit is often stalling for time. With alt-country singer-songwriter (and former Whiskeytown frontman) Ryan Adams, you get the sense he’s trying to make up for lost time.

Released almost a year to the day after his breakthrough Gold, Demolition is anything but the low-fi, low-quality set of half-baked songs and unfinished ideas you’d expect. These 13 cuts were culled from five sessions over the past year; reportedly, Adams recorded an album of material at each date and planned to put out a box set before trimming it down. Judging by these tunes, he might have been overzealous with the scissors. Although the 45-minute disc is roughly divided between jangling rockers (Going Nuclear, Starting To Hurt, Gimme A Sign), lightly twangy country-pop fare (Hallelujah, Chin Up Cheer Up) and darker acoustic material (Cry On Demand and Tomorrow, which features alt-country troubadours Gillian Welch and David Rawlings), all the tunes are united by their strong, beautiful melodies, bittersweet lyrics and Adams’ Paul Simonish vocals. Plus they all benefit from the unvarnished setting, which pushes several closer to the shabby grace of Paul Westerberg than the glossy sheen of Gold. As long as Adams treats us to one of these sets every now and then, he can take all the time he wants to record that next album.


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