Thursday, December 16, 2010

Playlist Week Day 4 -- Ryan Adams

[This weekend, I got the new issue of Rolling Stone, which included a bunch of specific playlists like Bono's David Bowie playlist or Ozzy Osbourne's Beatles playlist. So, for this week, I'll be doing five playlists of ten songs per artist/band each day with some brief comments on the song. All songs in chronological order.]

The only non-Canadian during this week of playlists, Adams quickly became one of my favourite musicians after I picked up his album lloR N kcoR on a whim. He works a variety of styles, willing to just dash off songs and work at a very quick pace. It's an attitude and work ethic that would have made him fit in with the music industry of the '60s/'70s, but he's seen as an oddity now -- someone who should slow down or simply bank his best material for ecclectic albums. Me, I prefer the less polished cohesive wholes he delivers. Then again, I'll take three very good albums in a year over one possibly better album once every three or four years... But, I digress. Ryan Adams!

1. "Come Pick Me Up" (2000) from Heartbreaker: Not many can write about fucked up relationships like Adams and this one helped kick off his solo career. What's worse: stealing someone's records or fucking their friends on his bed? I demand to know!

2. "The Bar is a Beautiful Place" (2001) from Gold (bonus 'side 4' track): Not a song a lot of people have heard necessarily since it was available on a bonus disc for Gold. This was one of my favourite songs of the summer of 2007. As a non-drinker, using this as my status on MSN had people wondering what was up with me... but it's just a sad song about self-destruction and a bad break-up. It's one of those songs that is so damn emotional.

3. "English Girls Approximately" (2003) from Love is Hell: The line "English girls can be so mean" may be about girls from England, but it will always make me think of girls in my English classes. Not that they were especially mean or anything... just pining over girls in classes and such. Also, the part where he goes "Just three words, my love: you meant everything" is fantastic. A double-meaning saying that she meant everything to him, but also she meant everything they did -- it meant something to her, too. That reminds me of something once...

4. "Note to Self: Don't Die" (2003) from lloR N kcoR: "Note to self: don't die for anyone / Note to self: don't die / Note to self: don't change for anyone / Don't change, just lie." Fuck, Ryan Adams can write some good lyrics that get at the heart of matters. Not that I necessarily advocate this approach. But, I always dug that.

5. "Rock and Roll" (2003) from lloR N kcoR: This song was really from the Love is Hell sessions and stands out on lloR N kcoR as this downbeat piano-driven song on an album of loud, brash rawk music. But, it's also a song that I can recite right now. Pretty simple. Sad. It's about being hung up on a girl. It's always about girls.

6. "Magnolia Mountain" (2005) from Cold Roses: "Lie to me like I lie to you" is another fantastic line. In my year as a Gazette Arts & Entertainment editor, this was my most played song. Just a beautiful, wonderful song that makes me want to sing along.

7. "The End" (2005) from Jacksonville City Nights: I love the way he crams in the line "The waitress tries to give me change but I say nah that's cool just keep it." It doesn't fit the metre or length of the line, but he gets it in there. A more romantic/nice flipside of "29" I'd argue.

8. "29" (2005) from 29: Driving beat, semi-autobiographic lyrics that make you not want to like Adams... it's a helluva way to kick off an album, but it's great at building as the song progresses. The chorus is fun to sing along to.

9. "Halloweenhead" (2007) from Easy Tiger: One morning, I thought my roommate Adam wasn't home, so I put this on loud and sang along to it a half dozen times or so. He was home and still hates me to this day for that. A stupidly absurd title and concept, but it's got great music and some killer lines like "I just watch, I don't go inside" or the shouting of "Guitar solo!" before the guitar solo. Shows off how catchy Adams can be...

10. "Magick" (2008) from Cardinology: But not as catchy as this song. Two minutes to accomplish what 99% of the shit on the radio takes five minutes to not accomplish. I could listen to this song forever. How this wasn't a #1 hit still baffles me. Michelle isn't really a Ryan Adams fan, but she loves this song. "So turn the radio on / So turn the radio up / So turn the radio up loud and get down / Let your body move / Let your body sway / Listen to the music play / It's magick, it's magick." Fuckin' a, man.

Tomorrow, we finish things up with Neil Young.

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