Press Play (Wednesday Edition): Ryan Adams

“It’s Only Gonna Make You Love Me More”

Welcome to a very special installment of Press Play! I’m glad you could make it. You might have noticed this isn’t our usual meeting place; those special Fridays we had reserved now overrun by vampires and hybrids. It’s just not right to let you go without, so I thought we all could use a good mid-week music fix.

It’s been quite some time since we saw a new face around here, heard a new song; our desire to add to that well-worn list of melodic favorites put on the back burner for some time now. What we need is to get back into a rhythm; find a beat that will take us where we need to go, an artist that will make us want to jump up onto our feet and sing along. Luckily, I have just the person for you. Meet singer/songwriter, Ryan Adams. With 10+ albums under his belt, I’m sure many of you have already met this über talented musician, so I’ll make this introduction brief.

Ryan Adams has become one of those quintessential go-to artists. With deep, blues-inspired melodies, lines and lines of magnificently crafted lyrics, and that typical eccentricity we readily look for amongst musicians, Adams has easily made himself a comfortable home on many of our iPod playlists. Combining long threads of words – heartbreaking and passionate – with coarse guitar strains, Adams signature style transcends the stereotype and becomes something else entirely. His unique rasp is well-known, making it impossible for you not to recognize a track or two.

Come Pick Me Up had been my first introduction to the type of soulful melancholy Adams sings so well. The track is one of his darker tunes; a harrowing story of unrequited love. From the moment you hear the initial notes from the opening harmonica solo, there’s no going back. This song will change you; its hopeful despair written across every inch of the melody; crescendos escalating from point to point, creating a veritable rollercoaster of erratic feelings. The poetic lyrics are indescribable. Every tear you will shed after hearing the song’s distinct emotional intensity will be worth it, absolutely. I’ve recently listed this song as my all-time favorite, and I vehemently stand by my choice.

“I wish you’d make up my bed, so I could make up my mind; try it for sleeping instead. Maybe you’ll rest sometime. I wish I could.”

Although using the same formula of classic harmonica solos and shifting guitar verses, Firecracker is vastly different from my previous pick. Upbeat and affectionate, the original studio recording is definitely a sweet love song you’re sure to keep close to your hearts. On the other hand, the acoustic version (as seen below) transforms the track into an almost lovelier interpretation of the original, if you can believe. The softer downtempo melodies make it easier to dissect and connect with the honeyed lyrics. Both versions are noteworthy in their own way, without a doubt.

“Kiss me slow and softly; make me dream of you. Well, everybody wants to go forever. I just wanna burn up hard and bright. I just wanna be your firecracker and maybe be your baby tonight.”

Listen closely, for you might be distracted by this next song’s charming relaxed refrains. Oh My God, Whatever, Etc. is one of those tracks where you have to do a double take. While melodically beautiful, the lyrical verses tell a different story. Unassuming in its essence, the song is a contrast of sorts; a vaguely light strain combined with an even darker narrative. A twisted story-song, the track is near the top of my must-listen-repeatedly list. Adams’ foggy voice gives the song an almost hypnotic feel, making you settle into a comfortable state without difficulty.

“If I could I’d fold myself away like a card table, a concertina, or a Murphy bed. I would, but I wasn’t made that way. So you know, instead I’m open all night.”

What did you think of this week’s Press Play artist? What’s your favorite Ryan Adams song? Favorite record? Do you have any music recommendations for me? What songs and artists have you been listening to recently? Tell me in the comments!

For more Kim the FanGirl follow the blog on Twitter @kimthefangirl and on Facebook

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma says:

    I don’t know Ryan too much, really only the cover of “Wonderwall”.
    Love the tone of his voice.

    1. I actually haven’t heard that cover yet. I’m definitely going to have to check it out. 🙂

  2. ryangroupie says:

    Can’t think of one Ryan Adams song that I don’t like. Saw him in LA last Feb. and he was and still is an amazing singer/songwriter. But I agree with Come Pick Me Up. One of his best.

    1. Agreed. ‘Come Pick Me Up,’ it’s heartbreaking, but oddly hopeful in the same moment. The combination of his voice, the lyrics, and the harmonica always gives me chills.

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