Two’s a Company, Three’s a Crowd
The much anticipated conclusion to Ryan Adams 2005 triple threat has arrived, but you might wish it hadn’t. The trilogy kicked off in May with the release of Cold Roses, a double disc tour de force featuring Adams’s new band, the Cardinals. The second release, Jacksonville City Nights, unfathomably matched the perfection of Roses, creating the impression that by now Adams must be stretching it thin. Mostly boring in nature, 29 is a collection of nine songs served like leftover salmon.Kicking off the record is a spin-off of The Grateful Dead’s “Truckin'” with the title track “29.” A good decision made by Adams, as this is without a doubt the tightest track of the bunch. From here he delves into the folk fables better illustrated on his earlier albums, but nonetheless displayed here. “Strawberry Wine” and “Carolina Rain” are lengthy, dull cuts with rambling lyrics. Five will get you ten even Adams doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.
“The Sadness” exhibits a full Spanish/Western feel that’s genuinely fun. However, occasional lyrical outbursts suggest an overly ambitious attempt at what should have been left alone. Similarly, the subtle beauty displayed in “Elizabeth, You Were Born To Play That Part” features delicate piano with touching lyrics. Three minutes in, a gentle guitar filters in only to be ruined when indecision arises and the piece plummets with banging on the piano. Adams cannot manage to cut a clean track.
All the pieces are present (including pristine recording quality), but Ryan Adams failed to make them fit. 29 is not so much a flop as proof three albums in eight months is absurd.