Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Adams-zed out

After a few listens to Ryan Adams' latest, Easy Tiger, I wondered if my fanaticism for his work has waned. Sure, the record is probably one of his most straight ahead releases, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's one of his best. After eight proper albums, I think I've become Adams-zed out. This got me to thinking about how many albums an artist can release before I start to lose interest. It's an issue of quality, but what determines the quality varies from act to act.

In Adams' case, I was never really taken with the double-disc Cold Roses. So much so that I never ventured to check out Jacksonville City Nights and 29, also released the same year as Cold Roses. Though certain tracks from those records have really caught my ear (especially 29's "Elizabeth, You Were Born to Play That Part"), but there's a lot of material in his earlier catalog that I prefer.

So maybe that's why I'm really looking forward to the long-in-development box set of unreleased albums he cut early into his solo career. Slated for release later this year, full albums such as 48 Hours, The Suicide Handbook, and Destroyer will come out, as well a few other ones. Though thirteen tracks from these albums were originally released on the Demolition compilation, I've always wanted to hear more. I heard some rather poor-quality copies of 48 Hours and The Suicide Handbook a few years ago and hoped better-sounding versions would surface at some point.

Adams definitely writes fantastic songs, but compared to the fan I was back in 2001 to the fan I am now, I have less of a tolerance for his newer material. He's still capable of putting out a new record that I could value as much as Gold, Love Is Hell and Rock & Roll, but I'll have to play this one by ear.


Py Korry said...

I gotta say that I'm not really that familiar with Adams. But after your post on him, I'll have to check out the CDs you mention -- at least the ones you really like.

the secret knitter said...

How much do you think his prolific nature factors into being Adams-zed out? I'm all for artists releasing albums more regularly than once every three or four years, but it seems to me that listener fatigue sets in situations like Adams' Cold Roses-29 stretch. (Guided by Voices could be Exhibit A in this argument, although looking back, I think that had as much to do with Robert Pollard's inability to self-edit.)

I haven't heard Easy Tiger, but a recent spin of Cold Roses, which I liked quite a bit, has it up there on my purchase list.

Eric Grubbs said...

The prolific nature of Adams has a lot to do with this. Like Guided By Voices, they seem to have a steady stream of solid material and I can't just pick one. I can't just have Gold; I want Rock & Roll and Love is Hell as well. I can't just have Bee Thousand; I want Isolation Drills and Earthquake Glue as well.