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Ryan Adams: Most Inspired, Most Beautiful Album

By Marc Zisman |

In January 2019, Ryan Adams announced the imminent release of three new albums and even gave away the title of the first two: Big Colors and Wednesdays.

The following month, caught in the turmoil of accusations by several women (including Phoebe Bridgers) of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment, he changed his plans, preferring to wait for the media storm to pass. Finally, a few days before Christmas 2020, Adams is releasing Wednesdays... after surprising everyone in 2015 by revisiting Taylor Swift's 1989, the ex-Whiskeytowner would address, two years later, divorce from Mandy Moore in the touching Prisoner.

He has always excelled here: pure and hard introspection with doubts, sorrows, joys and the full range of existential hardware. If Prisoner navigates the waters of a classicism inherited from Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, Wednesdays looks instead towards Neil Young. The beautiful and austere cover of a magnificent painting of La gare du Nord in 1908 by the Dutch impressionist painter Siebe Johannes ten Cate introduces the grey, tormented tone of the album.

The explicit opening shot, I'm Sorry and I Love You – very Young-esque in its form – confirms the songwriter's emotional fragility. Obviously, Ryan Adams is following what he hopes is a path to redemption. That's an impression which is only heightened by the few whiffs of gospel intruding here and there into this very refined country-folk world of beautiful workmanship. So much so that we can say that some of the songs on Wednesdays are among his most inspired and, simply, his most beautiful...


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