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Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas Eve Excitement

And it's still days away. Tomorrow marks the release date of Ryan Adams' third album in 2005, and I find myself extremely excited. For those unfamiliar w/ his work, check out his first solo album, Heartbreaker. It's been hailed as one of the greatest breakup albums of our generation (we twentysomethings), what Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks did decades before.

Before this year, I was lukewarm on Ryan Adams. I'm a huge fan of Love is Hell and Heartbreaker, but never warmed up to his other albums. Then Cold Roses arrived midway through my return trip to California back in May. Whether it was the surreal landscapes of SoCal and Western Arizona or the gradual release of the past, the album found an empty space inside me and took up residence. There is something beautiful in every song on the album, each track unlocking its elegance at different times. Some jump out as immediate greats, while others drip away mediocrity to reveal elegant melancholy.

The much-anticipated Jacksonville City Nights arrived the end of Sept. Its honky-tonk flavor threw me for a loop, and barely resembles the Dead-inspired album that preceded it. However, Adams' smooth transition from drugged-out blues to country twang make JCN another gem, albeit one more difficult to uncover. As I gradually get a feel for the album, his third and (presumably) final album of the year sits in boxes at record stores across America, waiting patiently to go home w/ the first cute girl who grabs it.

A little background on the album known as 29. Of 2005's three releases, it was the first one written and the only one not written and recorded w/ Adams' new band, The Cardinals (who give his music a much fuller sound). The album's concept is simple: After turning 30 years old, Adams reflects upon the past 10 years and realizes his 20s, like many others', were unbelievably difficult. Like most, drugs, drunken days and dragging hearts are littered throughout his 20s. The new album features nine tracks, and each song represents one year of his 20s. Granted, I've only heard 30-sec. samples from the album, but I've got the feeling this album, perhaps more than any other, will really blow me away. This CD has the makings of one of those albums that's never forgotten, that carries w/ it far too much pain and hope to fit on an 80-min. disc.

And if the music echoes even a fraction of the darkness found on the album cover, it should instantly become one of my all-time favorite albums.


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