Ryan Adams – Cardinology

Cardinology (2008)


1. Born Into A Light 2. Go Easy 3. Fix It 4. Magick 5. Cobwebs 6. Let Us Down Easy 7. Crossed Out Name 8. Natural Ghost 9. Sink Ships 10. Evergreen 11. Like Yesterday 12. Stop


Oh look, another Ryan Adams album. And this time he’s something something

Sorry about that, everybody. I’d love to get all worked up about another crappy Ryan Adams album for you. I really would. But the terribly named Cardinology can’t even get my gander up enough for me to spew venom at it. It’s just kinda there. God, Ryan, if you’re gonna make an album this boring and lame, can’t you at least make it suck more so that there might conceivably be something entertaining to say about it? Asshole. Maybe if Ryan had needlessly stretched it out to the excruciating lengths he tends to usually, I would start to hate it, but as is, there are too many far more interesting things occupying my mind. Like the knockoff cheese doodle I ate twenty minutes ago, or wondering if Rand Paul’s toupee is just really awful or if that’s his real hair and he actually chooses to wear it that way. Or trying to picture what various actresses look like naked, which is what I expend at least 70% of my mental energy on anyway.

OK, you want some vitriol? I’ll give you some vitriol. “Magick” was the single and it belongs on Jock Jams Vol. 79: Really Scraping The Very Goddamned Bottom Of The Barrel Now. Just an absolutely putrid facsimile of “raw” sub-Jet garage rock. It might be worse than anything on Rock N Roll even, and “You’re like a raincloud/If it rained mushroom clouds” is the most insultingly stupid opening line ever written by anybody over the age of twelve. And the closer “Stop” is a five and a half minute piano ballad supposedly written about Ryan’s struggles with drug addiction, but all I hear are soap opera-level “you can get through this, friend!” platitudes (“Look around, there’s so many of us/So many of us, you are not alone”; “If you wanna make it stop, then stop.” Next time I see Lindsay Lohan, I’ll try that line on her. I’m sure it’ll make a real impact) amplified by a saccharine Disney movie string section.

I hope that was enough for ya, cause I got nothing else on this stuff. The mix is over-compressed and the guitars possess an annoying and wimpy too-trebley, verb-heavy sound favored by many of today’s popular adult-friendly indie rockers, rendering the album’s sound uniform and un-dynamic. There’s very little wrong with pretty much all of these songs, other than being incredibly uninteresting, but there’s very little right with them either. The few times I’ve listened to the album, I remember thinking “Born Into A Light,” with its almost Iron Maiden-like acoustic riff, was pretty good, but maybe that’s just because it comes first and the boredom hasn’t set in yet. “Crossed Out Name” sounds like freaking Coldplay. There are isolated sections throughout, usually only lasting a few seconds each, that sound like they could potentially be parts of interesting songs, but they quickly revert back to the same old blahness.

Shit, did I really give III/IV a B-? There are A TON of really, really boring and generic songs on that one. More than Cardinology has tracks. But at least I sensed some kind of spark there, and it had a nice, punchy mix, some cool playing, and even three or four really good songs. Cardinology, aside from some nice pedal steel licks and characteristically fine vocals, has almost nothing going for it creatively.


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