October 25, 2007

Record Review: Ryan Adams

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Whether it is restless, weathered, gloomy or trendy, Ryan Adams has perpetuated a wide array of personas throughout his career. He has also whipped out a large catalogue of records to match. His inconsistencies, a result of his uninhibited passion, have always made him shine. Conversely, Follow the Lights is a surprisingly tidy collection, featuring only three new songs. By re-recording old material, Adams has finally settled down with the Cardinals as his glue and filter — allowing time with the band to reflect and polish. “If I Am A Stranger” proves this process worthwhile, as the new version is better than the original, while “Follow the Lights” nears disaster — but not the wild kind. The song is neat, clean, packaged and dull. Strangely, as Adams pauses to polish his sound, this album become more inconsistent. But, there are always diamonds in the rough: “Blue Hotel” boasts Adam’s most heartfelt vocal performance in years.