Release Date: Dec 14, 2010
Record label: Paxamerican
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Recorded during the 2007 sessions that produced Easy Tiger but shelved until 2010 for no particular reason, the double-album III/IV shares much of the relaxed, unhurried vibe of that tight 2007 LP but there is a key difference: this is a straight-up rock & roll album, the first Ryan Adams has released with the Cardinals. No country touches III/IV, not even of the Deadhead variety: Adams is in his alt-rocker mode, so much so that he even dabbles in textures borrowed from the Killers, who were at the height of their prominence back in 2007. Despite these lingering new wave affectations, the roots of this record lie in the left-of-the-dial sounds of the late ‘80s.
In interviews, Ryan Adams has talked about quitting drinking three years ago, which left him with a lot of partying time to kill. The result was 60 new songs, the best of which make up 2007?s stellar Easy Tiger. This two-CD set consists of 21 others from those sessions — lovably motley, classic-rock-riffing tunes about Star Wars, rats, crystals, and ninjas.
This year could have gone down as the year Ryan Adams went metal. Instead, thanks to a mid-December Hail Mary, 2010 will go down as the year the rocker released the eagerly-anticipated Cardinals III/IV. A relic from the same sessions that gave us 2007’s Easy Tiger, Adams’ fifth album with The Cardinals yields a two-disc effort made up of everything we love about Adams and a few hints on where he’s going next.
Ever read a Ryan Adams review where the words prolific and quality control weren’t used? Me neither. Well, I for one accepted his approach and ethos some years ago, so it’s never really been an issue. For some, however, it still burns a raging degree of anger, with every new release comes the usual quip of ‘disappointment’ and ‘wasted opportunities’.
Review Summary: Ryan Adams releases twenty one "new" songs, the world continues to spin.Ryan Adams has an enviable creative drive, to put it mildly. Thirteen studio albums in ten years, three in 2005 alone, not to mention three records with his previous band Whiskeytown and countless EPs and side recordings, some slightly better regarded than others. Adams could probably take a *** and come up with a gem of a pop hook, but Adams seems to lack that which most of us were blessed with at birth: bowel control.
Stream Ryan Adams’ III/IV in full here. — After releasing three albums in 2005, a move that yielded two country-rock homeruns (Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights) and one strikeout (29), Ryan Adams slowed things down during the decade’s second half. He spent a year on the road with his band, the Cardinals, and began putting to bed some of the addictions that had been threatening to upend his solo career: alcohol, speedballs, pills and the compulsion to release an album (or three) every 12 months.
"Hi, hello, it's me again," Ryan Adams bellows, granting III/IV-- Adams' 12th LP since 2000-- something of a cheeky start. Adams is the patron saint of the prolific, equally beloved and reviled for his never-ending avalanche of releases, and reintroductions aren't necessary: he's never drifted out of earshot for terribly long. A follow-up to Orion, the limited-run, vinyl-only, sci-fi concept record he released last spring, III/IV was culled from the same batch of tracks that produced 2007's Easy Tiger.
If you felt Ryan Adams's lugubrious 2007 offering, Easy Tiger, was a little on the lifeless side, there's a reason. It turns out he left most of his amped-up tunes from that recording session in the vault. Now he's releasing them for no particular reason except that it's been a whole two years, eons in Adams's over-prolific world, since his last proper record.
Ryan Adams has an absurd amount of unreleased material. Just a few years after the dissolution of his band Whiskeytown, the Prince of alt-country (for lack of a better description) bragged about having a full boxset worth of material on the back burner. Now that Adams’ contract with Lost Highway has run out, the always prolific singer-songwriter is free to unload these things on his own label while on a sabbatical from music.
Ryan Adams is one of the most confounding recording artists working today. The highs he is able to hit are dizzying and the lows he’s decided to share with the public are quizzically abysmal. For every carefully structured verse or perfectly delivered lyric, there is one that is at least as head-scratchingly bad. Particularly troubling have been Adams’s experiments with becoming a rock 'n' roll star.
Ryan Adams catches so much shit for being unable to define a cohesive artistic vision, but it's time for people to acknowledge that a big part of Adams' appeal is never knowing what you're gonna get. This is his vision: "I'm Ryan Adams and I'm gonna do whatever the fuck I feel like. " Sure, taking that sort of reckless approach to recording can make the hit-to-miss ratio pretty unpredictable, but the thing about Ryan Adams is that he never sounds insincere and with pop music, sincerity is nearly half the battle.
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals How compulsive is Ryan Adams? There are dozens of ways you could answer that question, taking the measure of a decade fraught with every kind of excess. “III/IV” (Pax Am) is his latest testament: a double album of songs recorded but shelved during the sessions for the 2007 album “Easy Tiger.” Mr. Adams was adjusting to the straight life at the time, and filling his lyrics with the language of recovery.
Sometimes the best parts of a movie are left on the cutting room floor. Generally, if the film merits it, the discarded scenes are swept up and added in as bonus features on the DVD. Consider III/IV to be the deleted scenes from Ryan Adams’ six-month long songwriting spree, which gave way to Easy Tiger in 2007. The double album is a diverse representation of all the songwriting styles Adams has called his own throughout his prolific career (save for “fully realized sci-fi metal,” the concept behind 2010’s Orion).