Pax Arcana has no regular Monday post. We have Tuesday Tubby Tearfest (my personal favorite) and Friday Random 10 (Pax’s favorite, because he’s lazy), but Monday gets no love. Well I’m attempting to change that.
May I introduce Monday Unrandom Random 10, in which I (or Perry or Pax, or, I suppose, Reverend E, when he’s not trying to figure out what a zapfino is) choose an artist (which is unrandom), click the play button on my iPod, and see what 10 songs come up on shuffle (which is random…get it?). I promise commentary, who knows what the others will do (if they ever do).
Continue after the jump of the inaugural Monday Unrandom Random 10, staring the Pax Arcana-approved and uneditable Ryan Adams.
1. Luminol. One of my favorite songs from the album that confirms that Ryan was indeed on coke, Rock N Roll. Rock N Roll is uneven (well, it is by Ryan, what else should we expect?), but this song has a lot of the album’s best qualities. Great singalong chorus, visual lyrics that are either really cool or really stupid depending on my mood (I’m spinning ’round a room of holes?) Anything from this album sounds weird among the rest of his material because it’s so different, but they’re good songs at heart, as evidenced by Ryan’s remake of “This Is It” on Follow the Lights.
Cocaine is a hell of a drug
2. Trains. Lucky two tracks in a row: “Trains” is probably the best song from — by far — Ryan’s worst album, Jacksonville City Nights. The weird thing is, I love twangy Ryan, but JCN just kinda sucks.
3. Pa. Speaking of, here’s an example. “Pa” just isn’t interesting. You know how Heartbreaker is filled with touching simple songs that tear at the fabric of your being? JCN is not. Stop trying to remake Heartbreaker if the tunes don’t hold up, Ryan.
4. The Hardest Part. Another JCN tune…what the F, iPod? Actually, I like this one too. Great singalong song in the car, and another strong chorus. JCN still kinda sucks though. Let’s hope the tide turns.
Oh, cruel fortune
5. In My Time of Need. Ask and ye shall receive. iPod atones for its sins and pumps out my favorite Heartbreaker song. Simple F-C-G progression, nothing that’s shattering your notions of music, but if you don’t feel what he’s singing, you might need to go the doctor and get checked out for Belichickitis. I can’t imagine how he articulates some of these feelings — it seems to be written from the perspective of about a 60-year old (Lord we married young/ stayed where we came from/ gave those children everything we had).
6. If I Am A Stranger. One of the finest songs from what should have been Ryan’s finest album, if only he’d have sent me the tracks from the two-disc Cold Roses session and let me choose the 12 good ones. Ryan would have received album of the year accolades from pretty much everyone. Instead it was just another uneven RA attempt. He frustrates me. This song rules, though, and for a guy whose lyrics are often stuck in a hopelessly romantic kind of vibe, he’s a little more self-confident in this one, if only in his realization that if this person doesn’t indeed know who he is, they never will, and that’s their problem and not his. Attaboy, RA.
7. Political Scientist. Eh. Whispering doesn’t make you deep, Ryan.
Did political scientist Aftab Ahmed like Love is Hell? I don’t know, he’s dead.
8. When the Stars Go Blue. Before every country artist on Earth remade this song, Ryan put it out on 2001’s Gold. Simple and pretty and evidence that when indie artists try to go mainstream, the results sometimes work. Stop hating.
9. The Shadowlands. I guess I don’t like Love is Hell that much either. Eh. Ryan gets stuck on these slow songs too often, and it’s almost never a good idea for him to A) put effects on his voice or B) isolate his voice with piano. They’re just not good sounds, dude.
10. Voices. From 29, which I still haven’t listened to much. It has the same kind of waltzy beat that “Strawberry Wine” (which is excellent) does. It’s also a good showcase of the unique qualities of Ryan’s voice. This is a talented guy, even if he has never edited a single note he’s ever written.