Ryan Adams's new album Cardinology, won't hit record stores until next week (Oct. 28), but he threw his fans and curious music lovers a bone by streaming the entire thing for free for 48 hours (starting yesterday) via iLike here.
It's been a year since we heard new music from this prolific songwriter and I'm pleased to report that this Ryan Adams album delivers the goods and offers up something for everyone. Fans will likely be satisfied with a sound that is the Adams they know and love, and folks who haven't given him much thought will have a hard time denying the rock charms imbued throughout. To read why I will be first in line to pick this up next week, read more.
Most notably, this is a decidedly hopeful collection of songs. The first track, "Born Into a Light," kicks things off with Adams crooning, "We gotta keep the faith," his voice and guitar invoking another time in classic rock. I always think it's impressive when an artist can blend rock with hope, using lyrics that give me goosebumps, and Adams pulls that off throughout this album with few exceptions. "Fix It" is the first single off the album (you can buy it on iTunes here). It's a grooving, bluesy song that has the most mainstream appeal and the kind of swelling build up that is more on the amphitheater-rock side of the coin than one of his other heavy influences: alt-country rock.
Two more songs stood out to me and will likely make their way onto a road trip mix on my iPod soon. "Go Easy" is a love song toward the beginning of the album that helps kick everything off in a strong way. I also really like the intense thrumming of "Cobwebs," full of wistful questions like, "Will you confuse my love for the cobwebs?" Things slow down a bit after "Cobwebs" and some of the songs lose me a little. But right as I was feeling a tiny bit bored, the simple piano melody of "Stop" cues up to end the story and Adams's quivering, melancholy voice is lovely.
All told, these are solid, plaintive songs that give you plenty of excuses to rock when you need it. I love Adams the most at times like this, when he sticks to what he's good at.