The Magic of Music – Ryan Adams

I realize I’m not unique in saying that I’ve always had a strong love for music. All kinds of music. It’s something that runs in my genes, I think. My father was a very serious listener who spent the bigger part of his salary on expensive stereo equipment and albums ranging from Metallica and Prodigy to big band jazz and my uncle has more CDs than most libraries (slight exaggeration, but he has a LOT of CDs!). Naturally, I got a wide variety of artists and styles to listen to early on.

Music is emotional and makes me emotional. Someone who’s extra brilliant at bringing out his emotions in his music is Ryan Adams (today was Ryan Adams day, tomorrow might be Kanye West, Bach or electronic beats day). Ryan is also an excellent storyteller as you can see in the lyrics below.

Just listen to The Hardest Part:

Pay my respect to the company store 
I ain’t got no money don’t want no more 
Pay my respects to the company boys now just move along 
I worked hard for every little bit I got 
And got lucky once on some advice 
Met a dark haired girl that the Mississippi moon 
Musta left by mistake one night 
In a hurry, Lord 

And that ain’t the hardest part 
The hardest part is loving 
Somebody that cares for you so much 

Promises don’t pay cash at the bank 
If they did I’m bidding your word 
They couldn’t pay me for the time that it took to write a check 
To buy a babydoll for my girl 
And I worked hard for every little bit I got 
The things I got are gonna stay 
And it’s been flooding so hard on them company mines 
That you know it’s gonna flood someday 
And you’re gonna miss someone 

And that ain’t the hardest part 
The hardest part is loving somebody that cares for you 
And that ain’t the hardest part 
The hardest part is working and I’ve worked enough 

I could stretch that penny like a silver line 
Rolling through the pages of my life 
Underneath your name where it’s underlined 
I’ve been turned around 
I’ve been mystified by a true love 

And that ain’t the hardest part 
Talkin’ bout a true love 
And that ain’t the hardest part 
And that ain’t the hardest part 
And that ain’t the hardest part

What a brilliant line that is: “The hardest part is loving somebody that cares for you.”

(Oh shit, I just realized this whole post is going to be about Ryan Adams, otherwise it’s going to be twenty digital pages long. Will have to make as series out of this – The Magic of Music)

Another great Ryan Adams song is New York, New York in it’s new piano suit. (The first was more upbeat guitar rhythm, but I think the song is actually better with a slow piano).

Well, I shuffled through the city on the 4th of July
I had a firecracker waiting to blow
Breakin’ like a rocket who was makin’ its way
To the cities of Mexico
Lived in an apartment out on Avenue A
I had a tar-hut on the corner of 10th
Had myself a lover who was finer than gold
But I’ve been broken up and busted up since

And love don’t play any games with me, anymore
Like she did before
The world won’t wait, so I better shake
That thing right out there through the door
Hell, I still love you, New York

Found myself a picture that would fit in the folds
Of my wallet and it stayed pretty good
Still amazed I didn’t lose it on the roof of the place
When I was drunk and I was thinking of you
Every day the children they were singing their tunes
Out on the streets and you could hear from inside
Used to take the subway up to Houston and 3rd
I would wait for you and I’d try to hide

And love won’t play any games with me, anymore
If you don’t want it to
The world won’t wait and I watched you shake
But honey, I don’t blame you
Hell, I still love you, New York

I remember Christmas in the blistering cold
In a church on the upper west side
Babe, I stood there singing, I was holding your arm
You were holding my trust like a child
Found a lot of trouble out on Avenue be
But I tried to keep the overhead low
Farewell to the city and the love of my life
At least we left before we had to go

And love won’t play any games with me, anymore
If you don’t want ’em to
So we better shake this old thing out the door
I’ll always be thinkin’ of you

Paints a picture clear as a blue sky. Or does it? I think good lyrics paints the picture you want to. For you. This is what Ryan meant (from a Pitchfork interview).

…when I wrote the record Gold, I was trying to close a chapter in my life, on who I was, a relationship that I’d been very possessed by and obsessed with. I was trying to find a musical way of closing doors, so that new ones could open. But after that record, 9/11 happened. And then everybody looks back at that song– where I’m trying to say to this girl, whatever…

Pitchfork: “New York, New York”?

Adams: Yeah. Where we had a run, but OK, it didn’t work. And in some weird way that song was almost like that Bon Jovi song, you know (sings), “Better to have loved and lost…” Basically saying that same thing, but people attached this meaning to it. Recently somebody sent me a funny e-mail they’d gotten where this guy wrote, “It’s bad enough that this guy, like, totally calls himself Ryan Adams, so that he can get Bryan Adams’ fans, but like, he’s still playing that 9/11 anthem?” And I was like, that’s the best e-mail I’ve ever seen! But you know what I mean? That song, for some people, changed. It didn’t change for me.

Obviously people can relate to lyrics in different ways! And some are just stupid.

And there’s this one. Let It Ride.

Moving like the fog on the Cumberland River
I was leaving on the Delta Queen
And I wasn’t ready to go
I’m never ready to go
27 of nothing but failures and promises that I couldn’t keep
Oh lord, I wasn’t ready to go
I’m never ready to go
Let it ride
Let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of the darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of stranger’s angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

Loaded like a sailor
Tumbling off a ferry boat
I was at the bar till three
Oh Lord, and I wasn’t ready to go
I’m never ready to go
Tennessee’s a brother to my sister Carolina where they’re gonna bury me
And I ain’t ready to go
I’m never ready to go
Let it ride let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of this darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of stranger’s angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

I wanna see you tonight
Dancing in the endless moonlight
In the parking lot in the headlights of cars
Someplace on the moon
Where they moved the drive-in theater
Where I left the car that I can’t find but I still got the keys to
Let it ride
Let it ride easy down the road
Let it ride
Let it take away all of this darkness
Let it ride
Let it rock me in the arms of stranger’s angels until it brings me home
Let it ride
Let it roll
Let it go

Makes your heart bleed in some weird way.

Well, there are so many good Ryan Adams songs it’s ridiculous. And he will pick you up if you’re down. Every time.

That’s the magic of music, folks.

Sweden: what the fuck happened

swewhathappened

It’s a strange headline I know. But it’s there simply  because that “Sweden What the fuck happened”  is the entry page for many of my visitors to this blog although it only contains the now almost legendary image of Stellan Skarsgård as a viking and some nightclub kids with 80s hairstyle, androgyne faces and lots of bronzer in their faces.

But it seems to me that Sweden has a bigger issue than the strange appearance of some of the males or the need to add a bronzer to acquire a tan.

To me, and this is of course my subjective, personal opinion as an emigrant, Sweden has become a country in large part obsessed with buying stuff and obeying rules. And by rules I don’t only mean laws, but all kinds of rules – most noticeably social ones. This has resulted in people being afraid to speak their minds and instead talk about nothing but practical stuff like which phone subscription you should have or which LED TV has the best value for money.

Feelings and thoughts around things that really matters, are left unspoken and unattended. They’re better dealt with alone it seems like.

This reservedness creates a society on standby and as a Swede it’s hurting me to see and experience it. You can blame it on the weather maybe, it can’t be easy to experience grey skies and darkness for 70% of the year, but then you look over to Canada or even Norway with a similar climate and where people seem less prone to have a stick up their butt and more often a smile on their face.

Sweden and Swedes: Cheer up and Chin up! (Fanastic song by Ryan Adams).

 

Ryan Adams and The Cardinals: III/IV

People who follow this humble blog know I’m a fan of Ryan Adams and his band The Cardinals. Adams is a very prolific songwriter so it’s remarkable his output can be of such high quality. This year he released an album consisting of “leftover songs” called III/IV and it’s absolutely amazing.

III/IV is a rockier album but has so many hooks and great choruses your head’s spinning. It might actually be his best album so far, up there with Demolition. It’s definitely appearing frequently in my iPhone playlist anyway (great music for the gym). Breakdown Into The Resolve will give you a good taste of the album!

Buy Ryan Adams and the Cardinals III/IV here

 

Infinity Blues – Blue Wars

InfinityBlues

the cars up on the lake
I’m only joking
there is no lake
only a street
and on this street
we live alone
I have a room
I keep a picture
by my bed
of the war
I need to talk and not with my mouth
I need to feel and not with my felt
I need some security
fuck
my youth is over
the ending is coming
all the stars are burning out
not growing
but idiots with guitars are strumming
I am one of them
out of tune since yesterday
as if it was the 1800s
and
as much as I would like to be in love
I am not
punk is dead
and my best friend says
“oh well, let’s fuck”
and
I just, you know, puke – throw up
what’s more important –
first kiss or last?
you have to know these things nowadays
because
it will not end well
and that is how we are taught
latch-key mall rat from the ’80s or not
I wrote a melody once
in an elevator at 6 a.m. for booze
and prospects
I got scars and civil war artifacts
and clues
bar napkins stuffed into my pockets
scratched into them like they were arms
and I was a cutter with terrible blues
from blue wars

The poem Blue Wars by Ryan Adams from his book, Infinity Blues. (Good stuff!) Buy it here