November 13, 2008

Ryan Adams: Cardinology

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It’s totally unsurprising that Ryan Adams crescendos into a chorus, singing, “I’d always win / I’d always win / I always win in the end.” With his latest record, Cardinology, Adams reaches the peak of typically introspective, singer/songwriter glory. And, at times, he even raises this self-obsession to new heights.
Adams constantly swims in self-reflection, rejoices about solitude, and otherwise reflects a solipsistic vision of a world where images of Manhattan drenched “in patches of pink clouds” meld together with those from the “basement of a church.”
With these images, Adams describes little worlds with charmingly obscure details that forge together like a patchwork that exists somewhere inside the singer’s head. It’s those moments of clarity — where the path to patchwork is visible — that I find relatable and the singer succeeds. When he sings, “I wish I could tell you just how I felt / I don’t pray I shower and say goodnight to myself,” I get it. And it’s precisely then that Adams wins.