Ryan Adams‘ Gold album starts on one coast of America with the poignant “New York, New York” and finishes on the other coast with “Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard,” the kind of song that makes you almost wish you were sat alone in some piano bar somewhere. There’s a timeless quality to these songs, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is some cheesy ’70s retro style album. Rather, Adams brings these songs bang up to date – the exhilarating “Tina Toledo’s Street Walking Blues” could easily be The Rolling Stones if they somehow rediscovered their vitality, and the epic, nine minute long “Nobody Girl” tips a heavy nod towards Neil Young.
These influences may surround the music, but at the center of it all is the bruised, romantic presence of Adams. As in Heartbreaker, he’s recovering from a broken relationship, but you get the impression that he won’t learn. As he says in “Sylvia Plath,” a wistful plea for a new muse, “I gotta get me a Sylvia Plath” – obviously nobody told him that Plath ended up committing suicide, but maybe that’s for the best. Adams’ voice recalls prime-era Elton John (a recent champion of Adams, and thanked in the sleeve notes) on some tracks, and there’s even some pure Philadelphia-style soul on the standout track “Touch Feel & Lose.”
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