Ryan Adams & The Cardinals

Double album, Cold Roses is the first of three releases in 2005 from prolific, messed-up genius Ryan Adams and his backing band The Cardinals. Adams, the Paul Westerberg of his generation, has always vied for the public's attention by crafting meticulous, radio friendly, road trip albums. The kind of record you'd pop into the stereo as you zip across Interstate 75 with Orlando Bloom as Cameron Crowe directs your every emotion. Okay, it's not the soundtrack to Elizabethtown but it could've been. Adams gets back to his alt-country basics on Cold Roses and leaves behind the rebel rock and roll from 2003's Rock And Roll. Like his previous country-rock twinged albums, 2001's Gold and 2000's Heartbreaker, Cold Roses makes you feel. Injected with sentiment, tracks like "Life is Beautiful" and "Meadowlake Street" reek of the alcoholic passion of broken hearts, dead end streets and degenerate languor of Anytown, USA. Awesome, right? Almost. Here's the problem, this isn't Adams best work. Sure, he could score a Cameron Crowe flick with his eyes closed but most of the albums two disc's are jammed with willowy, teary laments that don't quite match up to his previous releases. With Gold Adams shined brighter than a Grammy and on Rock and Roll he showed that he was capable of throwing out some great punk flavored pop tunes. But there are two more Ryan Adams albums due before years end. The king of musical productivity will redeem himself yet.

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