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Albums Of The Week: Ryan Adams | 1985

The sequel to EP 1984 is jam-packed with more short, sharp, SST-style firecrackers.

You can call Ryan Adams a lot of things — and a lot of people have, justifiably or not — but you cannot call him lazy.

For those who haven’t been keeping score at home, the absurdly prolific singer-songwriter and guitarist has released more than 30 albums in the past 23 years. And is seems he’s just getting warmed up. While the rest of us were still nursing hangovers and wiping 2023’s sleep out of our eyes on Jan. 1, Adams surprised-released five new albums. Yes, you read that right: Five new full-length releases. To be precise, four new studio sets and one live album. A grand total of 77 songs that run the gamut from ragged roots-rock to moody meditations and even pugilistic punk salvos. What do they have in common? They’re all pretty goddamn fantastic. Case in point:


If the title sounds familiar, no wonder: This is Ryan Adams’ third release named after a year from the ’80s.

In 2014, he dropped the EP 1984, a straight-outta-left-field offering that celebrated the hardcore punk of his youth. A year later, he released 1989, a track-by-track cover of Taylor Swift’s album of the same name. Thankfully, 1985 is a sequel to the former and not a prequel to the latter. Like its predecessor, it’s jam-packed with short, sharp, SST-style firecrackers — 29 songs in 34 minutes! — fashioned from blazing buzzsaw guitars, pumping polka-punk drumbeats, aggressive lyrics laced with copious f-bombs, and the slamming, supersonic urgency of vintage Hüsker Dü, Replacements and Black Flag (whose iconic four-bar logo just happens to adorn Adams left bicep). Let the moshing begin. And here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another seven years to make it to 1986.