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Love Is Hell
There is more than the occasional flash of inspired emotional outpouring.
Tanya Sweeney, 26 Nov 2003
According to Ryan Adams’ biog, he collects patchwork quilts, likes the film The Coal Miner’s Daughter, used to be a demolition worker and a plumber, and only drinks coffee in the summer. While these casually yet purposefully arranged titbits of trivia scream “Look! I can be a right random mad yoke, me”, it strikes you as a shame that this quirky idiosyncrasy didn’t extend as far as his music making.
Don’t get me wrong, on Love Is Hell, there is more than the occasional flash of inspired emotional outpouring (namely on the multi-layered ‘Political Scientist’, and the stunning and softly romantic ‘The Shadowlands’), yet on the whole, the body of work seems slightly inconsistent. The title track for example, is conspicuous by its almost Springsteen-like pedestrian tendencies, yet generally speaking, the album comes up smelling of (Rufus Wainwright’s) ‘Poses’.
A rather unwelcome blip is Adam’s rendition of Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall’. Admittedly, it’s a finer and more touching version than the original, and Adams’ vocal is more suited to the song than those of the brutal Liam Gallagher, yet all the track does is scuff the otherwise fine veneer of the album.