Quick Review (LP): Cardinology by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Lost Highway; 2008

My Rating: C (48/100)

Best Tracks: "Born Into A Light", "Go Easy", "Natural Ghost", "Sink Ships"

An easy-listening hard rock record. In other words, a misstep.


  • I dig the laid-back groove of "Born Into A Light." It’s hard to beat Adams playing alt-country with a crack band.
  • "Go Easy" is sort of gorgeous, though not outstanding.
  • "Natural Ghost" sort of sounds like Queensryche. That’s a good thing.
  • "Stop" sounds like a Love Is Hell leftover.
  • This is a strong guitar album. The band uses a lot of different guitar styles, and their playing is excellent.
  • Falls short on the songwriting front, and the album lacks any sort of grand vision. Also, I mean that thing up there about easy listening hard rock.
  • All in all, a frustratingly average record. There’s a few strong moments early on, but all interest is lost by the end. It’s as if Adams mistakes his prodigious talent and crack backing band for excellence itself. Unfortunately, it just don’t work that way.
  • As Adams’ career progresses, he seems to be more into the guitar playing. He’s playing hard rock these days. Given his prolific songwriting and manic personality, he’s sort of like a hybrid of Rivers Cuomo and Axl Rose. Think about it.
  • Pitchfork review is spot on.

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

Quick Review (LP): 29 by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams
Lost Highway; 2005

My Rating: C+ (60/100)

Best Tracks: "29", "Nightbirds", "Starlite Diner"

Reelin’ in the years?


  • The opener is an epic, roadhouse-style romper. Great guitar and vocals. Pretty great track.
  • "Nightbirds" smacks of Radiohead towards the end.
  • "Starlite Diner" is understated and gorgeous, but it might just put you to sleep.
  • "The Sadness" – not so sure this style works for Ryan. A little too dramatic, feels a bit out of place here.
  • There is a dark atmosphere to this record, similar to Love Is Hell. However, I don’t think this one quite has the same magic.
  • After the huge rock sound of the opener, things get very quiet and meditative. Honestly, tracks 2 thru 6 are lovely, but a little boring. Your going to need a good pair of speakers or headphones to get the intended effect. I’m guessing they’d sound really nice on vinyl though.
  • I think 29 would make a good vinyl listen on a quiet, rainy Saturday morning. It’s sort of lovely, but really slow and difficult to penetrate.
  • I like Adams’ concept, but I do wonder if his twenties were really this much of a downer? I mean, seriously, the guy was the toast of indie rock during that period.
  • In my humble opinion, Adams needs to stay away from Ethan Johns. That dude tones him down in all the wrong ways. I haven’t liked any of the albums they’ve done together.
  • I still haven’t really made up my mind about this one. On one hand, I find it terribly dull. On the other, I feel like it’s a grower with a little patience and attention.
  • Best album cover he’s had. It forebodeth for sure.

Cohesion (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Consequence (3.5/5)
Concept (4.5/5)
Songs (4/5)