I’ve been putting off writing a review of this album for a long time, because every time I listen to it, I like it more and more and I’m less and less sure WHY. I first took notice of Adams when I saw him perform “So Alive” on Letterman and was completely blown away. It sounded a little like vintage U2... better yet, it sounded like Radiohead used to sound when they sounded a little like vintage U2. (see ”Stop Whispering” from Pablo Honey) an yet it sounded completely new and original at the same time. And now that I’ve heard the whole album, every song makes me feel the same way. Every song has a little bit somewhere that reminds me of something else, but I’m never quite sure exactly what and the net effect is always just a really good rock song. I know some will cringe at the comparison, but the album reminds me a little bit of Michael Penn’s March if only because Adams clearly has the same kind of pitch-perfect ear for a good pop-hook. (Unfortunately that’s ALL Michael Penn had.) But Adams is clearly a great songwriter all around... this became more obvious as I tracked down some of his older stuff.
This is a great album – track by track – start to finish, which is a really rare thing nowadays. (See my White Stripes review) But the uptempo numbers here rock, the midtempo songs (“Anybody Wanna Take Me Home”) roll, and the slower, ballady bits don’t make me feel like my time is being wasted. In fact, the weepy title track may be my favorite Sad-Boy-Plays-Piano song since ”Raining in Baltimore” by Counting Crows.
So... two thumbs up... four stars... whatever. My favorite new album of the year by far. (I know it came out in 2003... I mean new to ME.)
Stay tuned for a review of “Love is Hell” which, while completely different, is just as good.
Dr. Dave (doctorsilence.blogspot.com)