Quick Review (LP): Gold by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams
Lost Highway; 2001

My Rating: C (47/100)

Best Tracks: "New York", "Firecracker", "La Cienega Just Smiled", "When the Stars Go Blue", "Wildflowers"



  • "New York, New York" is a big ol’ airwaves play. It’s a catchy tune.
  • "Firecracker" = decent alt-country. "Firecracker" = formulaic alt-country as well.
  • Unapologetically steals the descending chord progression from "The Weight." ("Answering Bell")
  • "La Cienega Just Smiled" is one of the prettiest tunes Adams has written. It’s also a frustrating recording, because his vocals sound so muffled.
  • "The Rescue Blues" sounds like a watered down Counting Crows outtake.
  • Adams’ version of "When the Stars Go Blue" is not my favorite (see The Corrs), but hey, it’s his tune, and he does a pretty good job.
  • "Nobody Girl" is some serious filler. A total throwaway.
  • As much as the first six or seven songs sound a little too radio-friendly, the slow and brooding stuff in the middle is just really bad. ("Sylvia Plath")
  • I like the power-pop harmonies on "Enemy Fire." Otherwise though, it’s sort of a boring tune.
  • "Gonna Make You Love Me" has a glimmer of life to it.
  • OK, "Wildflowers" does a little something for the album’s latter half. Not an amazing tune, but a worthy one.
  • And it just goes through the record’s last few songs. An incredible amount of filler here.  I imagine there are a handful of great songs here that could have combined with songs from Adams’ other pre-Love Is Hell stuff to make a really good album.
  • At times, this record is frustratingly generic. I blame it on Ethan Johns’ production, which makes the rough places far too plain.
  • According to the Wikipedia page, Adams wanted to "create a modern classic." That sounds like something Billy Corgan would say.
  • The AMG review yields some needed perspective: Half the fun of the album is playing "Spot the Influence": "Answering Bell" is a dead ringer for Van Morrison (with fellow Morrison enthusiast Adam Duritz on backing vocals), "Tina Toledo’s Street Walkin’ Blues" is obviously modeled on the Rolling Stones, "Harder Now That It’s Over" sounds like Harvest-period Neil Young, "New York, New York" resembles Stephen Stills in his livelier moments (Stephen’s son, Chris Stills, plays on the album), and "Rescue Blues" and "La Cienega Just Smiled" suggest the influence of Adams’ pal Elton John. OK, fair enough, but that still doesn’t rescue ~60% of the songs from being sub-par and formulaic.

Cohesion (2.5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consistency (2/5)
Consequence (5/5)
Songs (3.5/5)

One Response to Quick Review (LP): Gold by Ryan Adams

  1. Pingback: Career In Brief: Ryan Adams « Sweet Georgia Breezes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: