ARTIST: Ryan Adams
TITLE: Love Is Hell
YEAR RELEASED: 2003 / 2004
CHART ACTION: #68 UK. Pt. 1 EP #78 US, #62 UK. Pt. 2 EP #114 EP
SINGLES: Wonderwall (#27 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Love Is Hell
LINEUP: Ryan Adams. He used two bands – one for NYC sessions the other for sessions in New Orleans. They included Greg Leisz, Ricky Fataar, and Ian McLagan, among others.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Forced to release this set as two Eps at first, Ryan Adams creates a downer masterwork.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The record company said it wasn’t a commercially viable product, but they did allow Adams to release this work as two EPs. When they sold well, Lost Highway reconsidered, and released it as one unit, with the addition of one track from his prior album, although in an unexpurgated version. (There’s more to the story, I’m sure. Whenever they write a Ryan Adams book, the damn things going to be 1,000 pages due to all the stories and myths).
“Political Science” isn’t the most upbeat album opener, and throughout most of the record Adams stays pretty true to the title of his work. The title track is one of his most realized and complete songs he’s ever written, and his cover of “Wonderwall” strikes a right note.
As the music moves on, Adams tries to pull everyone out of his dolorious state, with a couple of more upbeat tracks, including “Hotel Chelsea Nights”. It’s a fine capper to a fine record that shouldn’t have been shelved in the first place.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Adams wrote “Shadowlands” before a concert in Belfast, and opened his show with it.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Japan, of course, yet again, got bonus tracks on each EP and on the full length. Dang it.
GRADE A: He’s better when he’s contrary and bucking the system, like this.