Ryan Adams Love Is Hell Pt. 1

Ryan Adams Love Is Hell Pt. 1
I’ve always liked Ryan Adams, but my patience is wearing thin and this might be the last straw. In the credits to his latest full-length album, he credits Exe’cute’tive Producer Parker Posey. If you can keep your lunch and let the music play after that, you’ll find Adams striking the new pose, same as the old pose: a workmanlike collection of vintage rock’n’roll, right down to the amps, effects pedals and rough-hewn mixes. No longer a mere appreciator of history, Adams is now officially under its thumb. His "country” influence is under the whip of a rock’n’roll master now; he competently runs through his paces, nodding as he passes signposts: Westerberg, Springsteen, even a little Cobain, all the while clinging to his self-deluded impression that he’s an artiste, a visionary instead of a busboy cleaning up scraps at a long-over banquet. Adams would be more respected if we heard a little less of him — including his former band Whiskeytown, this is eight full-length albums in seven years now, plus new two-EP mope-rock tribute Love Is Hell. At nine songs and over 30 minutes, Part 1 of Love Is Hell is as long as Adams’ beloved early ‘70s rock’n’roll records; although it contains a slightly mellower Jeff Buckley/Nick Drake vibe, there’s little to distinguish it from the mopey mid-tempo songs on his full-lengths. Equally prolific Bob Pollard is a better songwriter and less obnoxious about it. (Universal)