Quick Review (LP): III/IV by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
PAX AM; 2010

My Rating: B- (62/100)

Best Tracks: "Breakdown Into The Resolve", "Ultraviolet Light", "The Crystal Skull", "Typecast", "Stop Playing With My Heart", "Kisses Start Wars", "Kill the Lights"

Quantity over quality, with a handful of strong tracks.


  • "Breakdown Into The Resolve" is a cool little alterna-rock tune. Sounds like the Foos.
  • "Ultraviolet Light" is a definite high point here.
  • "Stop Playing With My Heart" is a cool little power-pop tune. Nice female backing vocals (who dat?).
  • Nice Beach Boys salute on "Kisses Start Wars" ("Don’t worry, baby!").
  • "Icebreaker" = serious butt rock. Holds true for a lot of IV.
  • What other tune does that guitar riff on "Typecast" hint at? And is that Norah Jones?
  • "Kill the Lights" is a cool rocker with tongue planted firmly in cheek. It’s like a punkish Allman Brothers tune.
  • Quantity over quality here for sure, but it’s obvious this was not intended by Adams as a "main" release anyway. It’s a decent collection of mostly forgettable tunes, but I can understand why Brad Pemberton liked driving around and listening to this one every once in a while. Adams may not produce greatness with every release, but his output is something to behold.
  • AMG hears The Replacements. I guess I agree with that.
  • So aren’t we at a place with music where bands can release everything from a session? Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a proponent of the album format, as in "this is the finished product, the record we set out to make when we began this project." But why not just go ahead and release everything worth releasing a year or two later? The great artists seem to do this, with the exception of a few of my favorites (Wilco, Radiohead, U2), who release a lot, but hold a lot as well. I applaud Mr. Adams for doing that here.

Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (3/5)
Consistency (3.5/5
Songs (4/5)