Album: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Cold Roses, LOST HIGHWAY
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The Independent Culture

"Everything about me you liked is already gone," sings Ryan Adams, four tracks into this double album. By that point, I had to agree. Love, it appears, is still hell for the songwriter as he unreels a further string of maudlin odes like "Now That You're Gone", "Meadowlake Street", "When Will You Come Back Home" and "Sweet Illusion", full of awful lines like "You and I used to shine like a jewel/ But time's been nothing to us but cruel", presented in unexceptional country-rock manner by his new band. But things improve on the second disc, notably with "Let It Ride", whose persuasive melody and uptempo trot would have sat well on one of Adams's old Whiskeytown albums. The gentle "Rosebud", with Cindy Cashdollar's keening pedal steel twining around Adams' acoustic guitar, continues the upward progress into the more positive environs of "Cold Roses", "If I Am a Stranger" and the unabashedly cheerful "Dance All Night". The album seems to chart the trajectory of Adams's escape from the slough of despond of

"Everything about me you liked is already gone," sings Ryan Adams, four tracks into this double album. By that point, I had to agree. Love, it appears, is still hell for the songwriter as he unreels a further string of maudlin odes like "Now That You're Gone", "Meadowlake Street", "When Will You Come Back Home" and "Sweet Illusion", full of awful lines like "You and I used to shine like a jewel/ But time's been nothing to us but cruel", presented in unexceptional country-rock manner by his new band. But things improve on the second disc, notably with "Let It Ride", whose persuasive melody and uptempo trot would have sat well on one of Adams's old Whiskeytown albums. The gentle "Rosebud", with Cindy Cashdollar's keening pedal steel twining around Adams' acoustic guitar, continues the upward progress into the more positive environs of "Cold Roses", "If I Am a Stranger" and the unabashedly cheerful "Dance All Night". The album seems to chart the trajectory of Adams's escape from the slough of despond of the gloomungous Love Is Hell, Pts 1 & 2, but that means listeners have to plough through a sustained bout of misery before the clouds finally lift for the latter half of Cold Roses, and that is expecting an awful lot of your fans. Still, a move in the right direction.

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