Album Reviews

    In his fourth major solo release, Ryan Adams borrows the updated blues riffs of 1970s T.Rex, the layered guitars of ’80s Smiths, the sonic grandeur of ’90s Smashing Pumpkins, and the post-millenial grit of the Strokes and filters it through his now-familiar brand of singer/songwriter country-rock. The unexpected result is a gloriously upbeat, guitar-heavy album that breaks with his mellow alt-country past.

    Rock N Roll (in reverse) pays homage to Adams’ ’80s heroes, such as in the first single “”So Alive.”” His singing evokes U2’s lead singer Bono but backs it up with gritty, garage-rock instrumentation. “”So Alive”” isn’t the only song to steal its title (a Love and Rockets’ ’89 hit); there’s also “”Wish You Were Here”” (Pink Floyd) and “”This is It”” (Strokes). But Adams’ songs are so full unique of energy and ideas, there’s no time for mere tribute.

    Adams trades in his heartbreak for catchy A.M. gold, but he still tugs on your heartstrings with the power ballad “”Anybody Wanna Take Me Home.”” His newly displayed love of loud guitars and radio-ready choruses don’t bury his bleeding heart.

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