Rock N Roll
When Ryan Adams hollers, “This is really happening” in the closing moments of “This Is It,” the opening number on his highly anticipated new album, Rock N Roll, it feels as if Adams is trying to convince himself more than he is his audience.
Without delving too deeply into the off-the-record history behind the album, it suffices to say that it was rushed, and quite frankly, it sounds that way.
The song writing on Rock N Roll feels lazy. Lyrics and instrumentation take a back seat to the idea of rock n’ roll as an exercise in timeless visceral rawk cool. Adams offers up lines like “Note to self: don’t die” and “You’re taking me higher than I’ve ever been before.”
The album is plagued with countless other examples of such trite writing that the word sophomoric doesn’t seem to apply. Pre-Frosh is more like it.
While the stink of sloppiness is all over Rock N Roll, there are some excellent moments on the album. When Adams actually gets the urge to complete and woodshed a song, the results are actually quite surprising.
The euphoric push of “Luminol” displays Adams’s flair for dramatic instrumentation and affecting honesty in his song writing. Honesty goes a long way on the sparse and haunting title track. “I don’t feel cool at all,” Adams sings over a subtle piano line, wearing his heart on his sleeve and showing himself to actually be the vulnerable creature he tries to disguise on the nine previous songs.
Rock N Roll is an album preoccupied with image and appearances. It is unfortunate that Adams tries to develop an image that is, in actuality, a complete lack thereof. When he gets over himself and his obsession with what’s cool, Adams can be a sharp, smart, and sublime songwriter.
Regrettably, there are just too many guitars in the way on this album.
-Robert James Algeo
A lot of people would like to argue that rock ‘n’ roll is dead. Today, it would seem there is something missing. It feels as if there is only rock; the roll has all but disappeared off the face of the planet.
Without its hipper, more happening partner in crime, rock has fallen out of step with today’s audiences. Bands are searching for rock’s intensity and roll’s swagger, but these days, it seems as if the two never met.
That is, until the release of Get Born, the first full-length album by Melbourne, Australia natives Jet. Get Born takes a stand and triumphantly reunites rock and roll.
Jet’s musical influences run deep into the lexicon of rock legends. Jet’s sound is practically rooted in the work of many past rockers, including AC/DC, Pink Floyd, the Kinks, Oasis, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.
However, this is not just an album for paying homage to great music; there is a certain unique style to all the songs. While the influences are clear, none of the songs seem like covers or tributes.
Get Born is full of swinging, tender songs penned by tough guys. Songs like “Roll Over DJ,” and “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” display the bands deft ability to get to the heart of a song. Fortunately, Jet does not limit itself to a two-dimensional album of heavy hitting rock ‘n’ roll.
There are also some subdued, beautifully emotional songs like “Timothy” and “Radio Song.” These songs really paint Jet as not just another angry rock band, but as a group with real substance in song writing.
All crybaby musings aside, this album truly rocks, as well as rolls.