Ryan Adams Rant

Because I have too much time on my hands…

There were a lot of things wrong with a lot of things this year, but probably one of the most confusing (and sometimes horrifying) things about this year was the ascension of Ryan Adams to alt-country superstardom in the press. Everyone keeps talking about how The Strokes were hyped up and fawned over in the British press and blah blah blah. But you know what? The U.S. press did the same thing with Ryan Adams.

My terrifying experiences with Ryan Adams began in January of this year in London. There were Ryan Adams posters plastered everywhere. I guess he was doing a gig or something and I just remember looking at the picture and going, “Dude- this guy’s name is RYAN ADAMS. AHAHhahahhahahah. He must be a tool.” I think at this point I thought he was some weird British person trying to be American hick. Of course I now know Adams is just an American hick trying to be a weird British person (see Elton John).

(On a side note- am I the only person highly disturbed by the level of stalking Elton John has gone through to attach himself to the Jack D-drunk ass of Mr. Adams? … but then again, in John’s defense–he probably has people who do all that tracking for him. I think Adams is thinking too much of himself….And to add insult to injury, he thanked the former Whiskeytown member in his liner notes… something about making him want to make music again. Noooooo. Oh, and by the way, Macy Gray is probably mad pissed Elton is not plugging her album as much as he used to. Seems as though trying to hit up on Adams is taking too much time away from hanging out with his pot-head self-promoting-skitzo friends. Don’t worry, Macy, you’ve got a gay friend in Rosie O’Donnell.)

So fast forward a bit. Let’s say around June or July. Ryan Adams pops up in almost all the glossys… even NYLON and Blender. Uh oh. He’s become hipster. He gets more American press than The Strokes. Images of a scruffy-haired Adams lounging around (drunk) with ’70’s tinted shades, plaid button-down shirts and tight-fitting dirty denim make it look as though he’s the product of a rejected Calvin Klein ad campaign. (Says Klein, “Dirty denim was soooo Fall 1999! We’ve already whored enough musical talents. We leave that stuff to The Gap now.”) He was the modern day Marlboro Man. Except without a cowboy hat… or a horse… or a square jaw… or a well-built physique. Ok- maybe he was just a 27-year-old chain-smoking alcoholic, but one I could grow to love.

He still had potential.

There have been a few things that have catapulted Ryan Adams to his current status as America’s number one guy with a name that sounds like Bryan Adams. The aforementioned obsession Elton John has with him is one. Another (and probably more disturbing and harmful) reason for Adams-mania is the event I like to call, “Big Buildings Go Boom,” or September 11, 2001. Not too long ago I asked someone, “Who decided that this song (New York, New York) was valid?” Their reply? “Osama bin Laden.”

When Island Records released the “New York, New York” video (slapping on a dedication to the beginning and end of the tape) it was probably with good intentions. They were going to stand by the work of their artist and his vision…. right on. Yes, the Twin Towers were in the video. Yes, it was shot on September 7. Yes, Ryan Adams says “New York” about a million times in the song. And yes, it would probably get a lot of airplay and make a shit load of money and publicity for all parties involved. No harm in that, I guess.

But the thing I guess that pissed me off the most was the critics adulation of this mediocre song. No, that’s not right. I don’t think anyone really said that “New York, New York” was a great song. I just was disturbed it became this huge anthem for New York and such. It became mixed in with all the scary patriotism of the City and the country. This song that happened to mention New York, written by this North Carolina native. And the fact that no one really seemed to care that the song wasn’t really about New York, it was about some ex-girlfriend of Adams–substituting her name with “New York,” where their relationship happened. Everyone also didn’t really seem to care that Gold is really about Los Angeles, not New York. You want Ryan Adam New York? Wasn’t that what Heartbreaker was for?

I wondered what was going on.

Not only that, but at the same time people were giving The Strokes real flack for taking off “New York City Cops” from Is This It. Was a word mentioned about the fact that Gold features a red, white and blue-clad Adams in front of AN UPSIDE DOWN AMERICAN FLAG. This new poster-boy for American patriotism had an UPSIDE DOWN AMERICAN FLAG on the cover of his damn album! Adams is quick to state that the flag is an SOS sign, not an anti-government sign.. so whatever. Match point Adams. It’s suppose to be a call for the singer-songwriter… But where The Boss made his album cover iconic by having a tight ass, all we get is Adams’s Edward Scissorhands ‘do in our faces.

So is the hatred for Ryan Adams a result of unusual circumstances? Is the hate tied to the hate of other things like pseudo-patriotism? Some of it probably is. But then he goes and starts plugging his own praise on his website. Like.. writing Elton John is a fan!. Granted, it’s not him writing it (he’s far to busy spiraling down to a slovenly mess to be bothered with typing shit up on the computer) but it’s the thought that counts.

He also really does make a drunken ass of himself most of the time. When he’s not singing “Rocket Man” with Elton John onstage, he’s usually falling off of it. And for some reason I might actually believe he broke his hand falling out of the tour bus… well no, not really. I’m sure there was alcohol involved, but I wouldn’t be so sure it involved a fight, as we might assume with a certain other broken hand. Sometimes it seems almost as if he’s trying too hard not to give a fuck.

But what about the music? One and a half yawns. Yes, there are some really hot moments–like the verse parts of “Gonna Make You Love Me” where Adams does his best Jack White impression. Then he kicks into his opening guitar riff from “New York, New York” and it’s all pretty much over. And what about “Answering Bell” being a direct rip-off of “The Weight” by The Band? Or maybe it’s that all folk sounds the same? Blah blah blah blah…

Not to mention that Ryan Adams is obsessed with Meg White… thanking HER in HIS liner notes. I think there are a lot of people in Detroit that’d like to kick his butt. He talks out of his ass and thinks with his dick. Also has been linked to our favorite little shoplifting music whore, Winona Ryder (but then who hasn’t?). What a winner.

Do I really hate Adams, like Rolling Stone post-fawning? I’m not sure. I never fawned, just complained. I just took out all this time to write about him… I mean why bother?


There were just some things that needed to be said.

9 replies on “Ryan Adams Rant”

  1. i honestly am i ryan adams fan and have been on since the tail end of whiskeytown, but there is not a thing i would disagree with in this article. i have never been more ashamed of our music industry when the album GOLD was plasterd over new york city. when ryan even sai “the title gold came fromwhen the sun set the whole city (of LA) turns and looks like gold…”

  2. Ryan is not trying to be anyone other than himself and you can tell that in all his different forms of music and lyrics. Maybe Elton John actually thought “Wow this Ryan Adams kid is really good! I like his music! I want to sing with him! That’d be fun” but no in your perspective he ‘stalked’ Ryan – oh sorry – Jack D-drunk ass of Mr. Adams. Another thing…he’s not the only one on the planet who drinks and smokes but he just is famous. Famous people do worse things but you’re just looking for something bad to say about him. If your dad was drunk and smoked would you rant about him? The way you write about Ryan it’s as if you know him personally and you know for a fact that he’s drug and smoking 24/7 365 days, for his entire life. Ryan actually broke his hand when he was playing a song on stage and tripped off of the stage.

    People that only listen to Ryan Adams because of Elton John and September 11 are really only listening to the mainstream Ryan. Have you ever tried to listen to any of his other stuff? So what that New York, New York was written about LA all that matters is that people can take the song and fit it into their lives, make it seem like it was about them. People can relate to it. And just because the song says love in it doesn’t mean that it’s about his ex-girlfriend or anything. Haven’t you ever loved a place? Memorized the cracks in the sidewalks and the colors of the houses on the streets? Or what colors the trees turn in fall? Is it so impossible to miss something other than a relationship? Have you heard Ryan’s Dear Chicago? Listen to that and then tell me that that song is about a girl. Everyone was patriotic after september 11 or what you like to call “Big Buildings go Boom” well maybe except for you since you actually call it Big Buildings go Boom (By the way I didn’t think people talked that way after the age of 3). Oh my god his flag was UPSIDE DOWN! NO WAY! Green Day came out with a song called American Idiot…if you think that Ryan is being unpatriotic with his upside down flag, and how you hate that his flyers and music are everywhere then you must be having a field day with green day!

    “Dude- this guy’s name is RYAN ADAMS. AHAHhahahhahahah. He must be a tool.” Ok tell me why his name makes him a tool? oh man his name sounds like bryan adams that’s funny

    And to add insult to injury, he thanked the former Whiskeytown member in his liner notes… something about making him want to make music again.” What an asshole that Ryan Adams! Actually thanking the members of his previous band to want to continue doing what he loves to do!

    And with the whole scruffy hair, plaid button down shirt and dirty jeans maybe that’s what he likes to wear and he doesn’t feel like he needs to dress in designer clothes and be something that he’s not.

    You talk about how Ryan does his best impressions of people well sorry I don’t see it. Ryan’s music is all different from everything even his previous cds. He is influenced by different things and would like to show that in his music but he is never trying to be someone he’s not. All of his lyrics are his own and all of his music is his own.

    Hey guess what Ryan Adams was also dating Parker Posey – anything bad to say about her? Why does his personal life annoy you so much? You shouldn’t let famous peoples lives bother you since they are famous and can live however they want – all you can do about it is write some measly little rant online and feel good about yourself after it. Oh yeah people agree with you ny,ny is about LA blah blah blah ryan drinks a lot blah blah blah. Hey guess what i drink too want to write a rant about me! I didn’t break my arm drinking but i was taken to the hospital! Go ahead write away. Hey if you want you can talk about how NY, NY isn’t about how he loved a place and time and then you can compare it to how I moved from the place I grew up to to a place where I have no friends and only corn fields. I used to live 30 minutes away from the city to…this. So hell, I’ll always love new york it’ll always be home to me…but i guess you understand that as a previous relationship right? Why am I standing up against your stupid little rant? Yes it is your opinion and you have your right to one just as I do…but Ryan’s lyrics to all of his music hits me differently…I understand his lyrics and I can even put myself in his place. New York, New York meant a lot to people and how they’re in love with a place and a time just like Ryan is in the song. “Farewell to the city and the love of my life At least we left before we had to go” Tell me that that line doesn’t at all relate to people in 9/11. I read someone’s comment on some New York, New York lyrics posted and they said that the lyrics really mean something to them. I’m not saying that you’re wrong and that there aren’t people out there who feel the same as you that the song means nothing but there are people out there who feel some kind of connection with these lyrics and how they feel that it actually means something more than just a “Past relationship” or how he left NY and he’ll always miss it.

    “The wind’s feelin real these days. And baby, it hurts me some. I never thought I’d feel so blue. New York City, you’re almost gone. I think that I’ve fallen out of love. I think I’ve fallen out of love. I think, I’ve fallen out of love, with you.” – Dear Chicago by Ryan Adams

    now tell me that New York, New York is just a song about some stupid ex-girlfriend of his.

  3. Actually New York, New York was about a ex girlfriend. But either way this guys rant is very stupid. And I will continue to be a Ryan Adams fan!

  4. I believe that Dear Chicago is also about an ex-girlfriend. An artist uses symbolism and landmarks of sorts for expression. Ryan Adams is an artist, has had his love trials, uses music as an outlet for that and everything else. I say Shine On Ryan Adams!!!

  5. well said Riley! whoever posted this original blog was the real “tool”. If they had taken a second to listen to a little more of RA’s music and a listen a little more carefully perhaps, they would see that the reason why there’s so much (*gasp* God forbid!!) “American Press” surrounding him and his music is because there’s real genius in this guy.
    i guess the writer was more a Springsteen fan. that’s sad.

  6. I googled “ryan adams” and “meg white” and found this blog. I’d wanted to know more about his interest in her, because I heard he flirted with her and Jack got pissed. Anyway, Ryan Adams and Jack White are my favorite male artists alive today – both special in their own way. Ryan’s not alone in his corporate whore-dom.. even Jack sold Coke.

    This blog post was well written and funny, whether I agree with it or not. Very entertaining!

  7. u suck.ryan adams doesnt. get a life. he has one you dont. ryan writes im sure for many reasons. didnt he mention his past with elton john in the interview for cmt, im sure he has issues and has tem jus tlike e verone else. excuse the grammatical errors im thinkin to ofast because ims o pissed at whati just read, its the trth but who gives a fuck, he writes good music. and hes a fuck up. nad if it sells thats how it is.

  8. Dude the only reason you don’t like Ryan is because he is better than your fading strokes and they are not what they used to be.
    And next because Elton John likes him. Elton John is pretty good with music and apparently he sees something in Ryan. It’s almost as if you are homophobic on this subject. Which should take nothing away from Ryan Adams.
    So why don’t you quit bitch and appreciate good music.

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