So the new album Ryan Adams came out yesterday, accompanied by the obligatory press blitz as well as some goofy infomercial work by Ryan and friends. Both the album and Ryan’s latest round of live shows have drawn generally (but certainly not unanimously) positive reviews. And Ryan himself stirred the pot with a lengthy Stereogum Q&A interview in which he referred to his former band the Cardinals as “that fucking shit sandwich,” causing much angst among more avid fans of his late-period work.
As I’ve said before, this should not surprise anyone because Ryan seems to be one of those artists who needs to destroy the past before he can move on from it. Whether it’s former bands or his own catalog, he goes out of his way to disown everything after the fact. Not too many years ago, he was talking about the Cardinals as his musical soulmates; but now that they’re in his rearview mirror, Ryan holds up his current band The Shining as his latest end-all-and-be-all. Nevertheless, it’s a lead-pipe cinch that he’ll one day dismiss The Shining in similarly poetic terms.
Meanwhile, “Losering” is prominently referenced in a couple of stories that have come down the pike this go-round. First is a timeline-type listicle on vulture.com, “A Brief History of Ryan Adams, From Vices to Voice Mails,” which quotes from the book (with credit to the book as source, which I appreciate). And second is this admirably fair Ryan Adams review in Blurt magazine by my pal Fred Mills, who thinks a lot more of the new album than I do. But Fred makes the case for it well enough to help convince me that I should keep listening, and so I shall.