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With a touch of Robyn Hitchcock in his vocal timbre, a smidgen of Steve Earle in his narratives and instrumental writing and a heap of Gram Parsons in the fullness of his overall sound and structure, Ryan Adams steps well above Whiskeytown with Heartbreaker, his solo debut. By turns raucous, wistful, raspy and simply sweet, Adams makes the most of a top-shelf acoustic band, including Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and even a guest spot from Emmylou Harris on the tenderly yearning "Oh My Sweet Caroline". There is little dependence on the usual alt-country twang and a far more rounded sense of textures here (the multiple vocal tracks on "Amy", for example, sound Beatles-esque), with glockenspiel, organ and more signalling a sonic field of extensive depth. His spare guitar and stretched-thin vocal delivery alternate smartly with a bigger-shouldered guitar and throaty voice, never leaving behind a band conception straight out of Parsons's oeuvre. Adams signals occupancy of the post-alt country vanguard--if there is such a thing. --Andy Bartlett
Top Customer Reviews
Heartbreaker is a gorgeous collection of emotive, downbeat alt. country, bar two tracks (Shakedown on 9th Street and To Be Young...) which are perfect for those, 'alone in the car and no-one can see me' moments.
The music is very simple, and the production rough, but the lyrics and Adams' voice are perfect. The emotions here are familiar with anyone who has loved and lost, songs such as Come Pick Me Up and Why Do They Leave? are quite simply, perfect.
My favourite tracks personally are Come Pick Me Up and AMY, both of which are downbeat, slow folky-country, and excellent.
If you are buying this album after Gold, however, it's worth taking note that this is much more downbeat, and a little more country...with less istrumentation. A lot of the songs are just vocal, guitar and piano, and can sometimes sound a little sparse.
Initially drawn into Ryan Adams by a friend who played me Come Pick Me Up (a track to which i was instantly addicted), i bought the album a week or so later. And instantly i was thrilled with the emotion that is woven between every song. Oh My Sweet Carolina is one of the best songs ive heard for a long time. Other tracks such as AMY, Winding Wheel and of course, Come Pick Me Up, make this album stand out from your average album. You see, this is far far from your average album!
Words to describe it are not in abundance because none quite seem to describe the whole album. So i'll just use about as bland a generalisation as i can and say this album is simply breathtaking. Don't expect guitar solos, dont expect drum riffs and dont expect to dance around. Expect instead to feel as if every emotional song on this incredible album was written for you. This isn't an album to jump around too. This is an album to identify with, this is an album to explain things to you. This is an album for your lowest low and your highest high. This is an album of reflection and celebration and comiseration.
Put simply, just buy it!
But for every tune played with a full band, the real masterpieces on this album feature Ryan Adams, an acoustic guitar and a minimum of backing. If 'Call me on your way back home', the dissection of a failing relationship, doesn't make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end, then musically nothing ever will. AMY is equally beautiful in a haunting way, and the production of the guitar and vocals brings the intimacy that many recordings aspire to but never reach.
Not only is this a brilliant album, it is the arrival of a very singular and significant talent. Music lovers will still be playing this album for years to come. It's even good enough to make you forgive the indulgence on "Gold". But this isn't good as gold - it's a different class.
In a period of time, where these days, the charts seem to be dominated with cheap talentless manufactured acts, releasing covers, Ryan Adams has been a breath of fresh air:- an artist who wites his own songs, and is actually brilliant at it.
The album kicks off with the speech, "Argument with David Rawlings concerning Morrissey" This is Adams showing his humorous side.
The music then kicks off, with "To Be Young (Is To Be Sad Is To be High)" Think Dylan "Subterrainian Homesick Blues" think upbeat acoustic sound, well this song will have you singing along in the car. An absolute masterpiece.
"My Winding Wheel", a great piece of poetry set to a pleasant acoustic tune.
"Amy" is Adams ode to former girlfriend. Its almost Beatlesque. Mainly just Adams on acoustic guitar, this song is a glowing tribute to simplicity.
"Oh My Sweet Carolina" in my opinion, is the real gem of gems in this album. Theres a lot of feeling and mood straight from the heart with this song. The lyrics will just blow you away. The story of leaving a home, thinking the grass is greener on the otherside, and realising how home is really where the heart is, is a situation we've all found ourselves in sometime or another.
This song is a fine example of the song writing talent of Adams. The addition of Emmylou Harris singing as duet, enhances what is already a masterpiece.
"Bartering Lines", think Neil Young, think well thought out lyrics, think strong simple yet effective tune, think just man and acoustic guitar, and well your almost there.
"Call Me On Your Way Back Home" is another one of those little gems. Its a classic tribute to a lover.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The extra disc is surprisingly good, the original album is brilliant, and great to listen to againPublished 2 months ago by ROB DORAN
Simply fabulous album. Some good extras here too. A classic album now made all the better.Published 3 months ago by Alison B.
For once a proper deluxe edition which has been carefully thought through. A second disc of demos and sessions that enables the listener to hear how an album was made.Published 3 months ago by C. J. Barton