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23
4.1 out of 5 stars
Demolition
Format: Audio CDChange
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2005
'Demolition' is Ryan's collection of demo's "left over" from the various recording sessions in Nashville, Los Angeles and Stockholm circa 'Gold'. Indeed, this album seems to be the flipside of his second album proper and is best described as 'a bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good'. On the record he works with backing band the Pinkhearts, Gillian Welch, 'Heartbreaker' collaborator David Rawlings, 'Heartbreaker' and 'Gold' producer Ethan Johns, Carrie Hamilton Chris Stills, Bucky Baxter and Greg Leisz.
Tracks include the pleasant country tracks, but mildly disappointing, 'Desire' and 'Hallelujah', which is nothing more than a second rate 'Firecracker' from 'Gold'. In contrast, acoustic ditties such as the Nick Drake-like 'You Will Always Be The Same' and the brilliant and emotive 'Cry On Demand' rank among Adams' best work. The albums highlight is 'Tomorrow', and the fact that it was co-written with Carrie Hamilton, a friend of Ryan's who appears on the sleeve of 'Gold' who later died from cancer, makes the song seem even more touching. It is a beautiful solo acoustic track with excellent duel vocals from Ryan and Gillian Welch. Elsewhere, 'Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)', although one of the weaker tracks on the album, is another emotional song about when the author first found out about Carrie Hamilton's cancer.
Other highlights include lead single 'Nuclear' is an excellent opener which ranks with Ryan's best songs, and 'Starting To Hurt' is a bass-line lead rocker about a woman jumping from the top of a building, which is another touching moment once you know the story behind the song. However, for every good track, there is one which disappoints. 'Gimme A Sign' is pedestrian and easily forgotten, and 'Tennessee Sucks' is quite nice but again not very memorable. However, considering that this is a collection of "unfinished demo's" (which is hard to believe when you listen to this record) then these are only minor flaws, as 'She Wants To Plays Hearts', 'Dear Chicago' and 'Chin Up, Cheer Up' are all welcome on the record.
Therefore, not as complete as his previous two "proper" studio albums but at only 13 tracks it makes it a bit easier to listen to than the 16 tracks of 'Gold'. As far as albums go, this isn't bad at all, but as far as demo collections go, this is excellent. Another essential Ryan Adams record.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2003
I am writing this review as it seems this album is getting a bit of a hard deal on amazon. Having owned and loved heartbreaker and gold before buying this album i was very excited about the prospect of getting my little hands on this gem.
And what a gem it is! songs like Cry on Demand and She Wants to Play Hearts are great heartbreaker songs but the best songs on the album are the more uplifting ones. Chin up, Cheer up and Hallelujah are quite simply absolutely gorgeous, putting them on really does cheer me up and make me ready for my day.
This is a great albuma and while i would agree that perhaps this is not one for Ryan Adams beginers, it will be loved by the more seasoned fans. If you like Ryan Adams you will love this!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2002
Pitching this as a collection of songs cobbled together from a series of unreleased albums wouldn't normally sound particularly inviting; but then this is Ryan Adams, an artist currently so prolific that you'd imagine even Bob Pollard from Guided By Voices might soon give him a call and advise him to slow down a little.
Seemingly unstoppable at present, Adams managed to record a number of different albums over the last few months with a number of different bands, and rather than releasing a box set of the lot, the highlights were picked to make up "Demolition". Considering a supposed trip to a nearby Alanis Morissette gig last year inspired Adams to record one of the albums makes you wonder whether simply making a cup of tea could now unleash another flurry of song writing activity from The Boy Wonder.
Whilst "Demolition" doesn't quite match the brilliance of "Gold" this is still an extremely fine album. It won't perhaps win over his critics, but for the fans it's just another corking collection of tunes.
Starting with the highlights: "Nuclear", "You Will Always Be The Same", "Chin Up Cheer Up", "Cry On Demand" and "She Wants To Play Hearts" rate up their with his best compositions yet, and generally on this record Adams seems at his best when he keeps it low key and simple. The rockers (which served him well on "Gold") fall slightly flat here - namely "Starting To Hurt" and "Gimme A Sign", which both sound rather forced and out of place. "Tennessee Sucks" smacks of being a bit of a novelty tune, but still has a good vocal and sweet melody, whilst "Jesus (Don't Touch Me Baby)" is a slight foray into Radiohead territory that ultimately back fires.
If we're being honest it could be said this is a bit of a mixed bag - but when he's on form Adams just can't be beaten. Quite what direction the "official" follow-up to "Gold" will take we will have to wait and see.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2002
This was supposedly an outake LP - a trimmed down selection of 40-odd tracks that Adams had crafted since the sublim Gold LP. Expectations were not that high - but it would be something to keep the fans happy until the next big release.
Being a fan I bought this and I was amazed at the variety, beauty and soulfulness of all 13 tracks. From the opening bustle of 'Nuclear' through to the ethereal 'Jesus dont touch my baby' you will have experienced raw underground rock, bluegrass, folk and smatterings of Neil Young, Gram Parsons & in my mind a similarity to UK's Lloyd Cole. Noel Gallagher has just stated that Ryan Adams has made him start playing Wonderwall again (Ryan does a live cover of it in his set). This LP will have its own individual inspiring effect on those who listen to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2002
While Gold was the crossover record he obviously wanted, it left a lot of fans of his earlier work cold with its MOR sheen and shameless aping of Neil Young/Bob Dylan/Van Morrison. Demolition isn't perfect, but it injects back a lot of the excitement and raw emotion that seemed to have been jettisoned.
To say this is supposedly a collection of throwaways, it beats what most artists deem their best material. Everyone will have different favourites, but whether you like Whiskeytown style rockers (Nuclear, Gimme A Sign) or the purer, Heartbreaker-type stuff (Dear Chicago, You Will Always Be The Same), I don't think most Ryan Adams fans will come away disappointed. The question for him next is not how he tops Gold, but how he tops this.
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'Demolition' collects the cream of Ryan Adams' demos which were intended for at least three studio albums that never saw the light of day. There are 13 tracks in total, and most of them are good. I would say that this CD is a 'grower', and considering that it's essentially a compilation of 'left overs', I am very impressed.

Like a lot of releases from this man, who I regard as one of the most talented and prolific singer-songwriters of his generation, the music here is varied. Opening up with the driving rock sound of 'Nuclear', the songs then move onto those that fall into realm of R&B and bluegrass. Some of the tracks wouldn't have sounded all that out of place even if they had made the final cut on Ryan's breakthrough 'Gold' album, in particular, 'Hallelujah'.

'Demolition' is one of those albums which would normally be only of interest to the die hard fans, and whilst casual listeners would probably be better off listening to his other releases, I think that this collection is more than your usual 'for the fans' CD. Most of these songs do sound like the unpolished demos that they are (hence the album's title), but they range from the forgettable to the almost brilliant, and offer listeners a real insight into Ryan's creative progress. Don't dismiss it, give it a shot.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2002
On the album 'Faithless Street', Ryan confesses that he "started this damn country band - 'cos punk rock is too hard to sing". Demolition is confirmation of this fact.
When I play Whiskeytown records now, I am drawn to the songs that have Ryan wearing his heart on his sleeve, backed by a more traditional country/bluesy/folky sound. On Stranger's Almanac, I play 'Avenues', 'Houses On The Hill', 'Everything I Do', and 'Somebody Remembers The Rose' - and to me, they are head and shoulders above the rest of the album because everything clicks together in a way that the 'rock' tunes don't. On Pneumonia, 'Don't Wanna Know Why', 'Jacksonvile Skyline', 'Reasons to Lie', 'Under Your Breath', and 'What The Devil Wanted' again all stand out for me. Up close, personal, simplistic but beautifully delivered songs.
Heartbreaker is Ryan's magnum opus purely because he's playing to his strengths. Guitar, vocals, minimum of overdubs, just the stripped-down beauty of a great voice singing great songs. That's all you need. This is where Gold, with the exception of 'La Cienaga' and 'Wildflowers', fails me. Much of it is overblown and recycled rock bombast without a convincing delivery.
Bottom line - I don't think Ryan can rock. I don't believe him when he has an electric six-string in his hand. I find his "rock" songs mediocre, tiresome, unconvincing and insincere. I haven't heard too many artists do a guitar and vocal ballad as well as Ryan Adams - this is high praise. I have however heard countless artists pull off a better 'rock and roll animal' persona than Ryan.
All this sums up my feelings about Demolition. Dear Chicago is phenomenally good, right up there with anything he's done in terms of quality and the way it moves me by just listening to it. If this is Ryan's template going forward, he won't go far wrong. I find the rock songs on this album amateurish and tiresome. Which makes me wonder if we shouldn't start talking about two Ryan Adams - one, the middle of the road rock and roll wannabe, and two, the fantastically gifted balladeer that has the priceless gift to touch somebody with a simple song beautifully sung in his 'drunken, bluesy whisper'.
All of which leads me to ask - will the real Ryan Adams please stand up?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2002
If you treat 'Demolition' as the collection of demos that it is rather than an album in its own right, it is a worthy addition to the Ryan Adams catalogue.
Admittedly, on first impressions it is nowhere near as good as 'Gold' or 'Heartbreaker' but there are enough quality songs to hold it together.
Opening track 'Nuclear' is an upbeat affair with a catchy guitar riff and beat. The song does sound a bit like U2 but Adams' distinctive vocal chords make it sound distinctively like himself!
Album highlight comes in the shape of 'Cry on Demand', a glowing, warm acoustic song that sees Adams' match his very best efforts. Admittedly, it is nothing fancy or new sounding but a quality song that effortlessly breezes through three and a half minutes and leaves you reaching for the repeat button.
Elsewhere on the album, Adams rotates between acoustic and more rockier numbers. 'Chin Up, Cheer Up' is the most 'country' sounding song he has recorded as a solo artist and makes for a nice change in style.
There is nothing overly special about these songs but this album will act as a nice fill in between 'Gold' and Adams' next album proper. 'Demolition' isn't going to raise Adams' reputation as an artist but at the same time it certainly won't to do it any harm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 November 2012
I have all RA,s albums and some Whisky Town, but for some reason I missed this one, now that I have it I love it. It's a much easier record than some of his others, but for me doesn't spoil it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2010
simply a great album which as been listened to 100's of times. liked by people who would not normally listen to this type of music.
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