CD: Ryan Adams: Rock N Roll

(Lost Highway)

Ryan Adams increasingly resembles an American Robbie Williams - an attention-seeking narcissist with the musical consistency of a Now That's What I Call Music compilation. After a promising alt-country debut, his 2001 breakthrough album Gold was a breathless, shameless trolley dash through the classic rock section, copping moves from Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Neil Young among others. On Rock N Roll, a record as vacuous and eager-to-please as its title, he is still ticking boxes like a radio programmer in a hurry.

Annoyingly, Adams undermines his own songwriting gifts. Luminol and Burning Photographs are terrifically evocative of early-1980s U2, late 1980s Cure and the cinematic career of Molly Ringwald. But they are surrounded by nonsense like the Stones/Stooges cartoon 1974 ("the city is an animal, ready to eat") and the accurately titled Shallow, which lumberingly travesties Oasis despite the fact that Oasis are perfectly good at lumberingly travestying themselves. Throughout Rock N Roll, Adams is too busy winking, smirking and showing off to convey anything approaching an emotion. A cover of Let Me Entertain You is only a matter of time.


Dorian Lynskey

The GuardianTramp

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