After his solo debut, Heartbreaker, Ryan Adams released the Top 40 adult alternative-ready album Gold. At the time, Adams was primed to be the new Paul Westerberg: an earnest rock ‘n’roller romantic enough for the broken-hearted, but with enough Keith Richards swagger for the guitar-rock crowd. Demolition split the difference pretty well with ballads and rocked-up odes to lost loves, but after Rock N Roll—a U2-meets-Joy Division ode to ‘80s post-New Wave—Adams ditched his harder rock sound to focus on more traditional country shuffles and lap steels.
According to Entertainment Weekly, though, Adams is plotting a return to that new wave-meets-country sound on his recently announced new record, the follow-up to his redux of Taylor Swift’s 1989. “When I run, I listen to [an iPod] Nano that I have,” he says. “I put all the AC/DC records on from back to front, or I’ll listen to the best of stuff from the ’80s—Springsteen, or Hornsby—and I’ll listen to what is going on there.” EW describes the guitar tones on the record as being akin to Bachman Turner Overdrive and ELO, implying a sound closer to Adams’ abandoned Pinkhearts sessions: straight-ahead, Tom Petty-influenced rockers, not as aggressive as his Husker Du-influenced EP 1984.
Adams pared down more than 80 songs to the 11 that will appear on the record. “I’m taking all the cool, big questions I’m asking on this record, then flipping it over, and then flipping it back to Side A and you still have more questions,” Adams explains. “I’m a relatively convoluted soul creatively. I was listening to AC/DC’s Fly On The Wall and that’s when I realized what I had to do for the record.”
The as-yet-untitled album is being produced by Don Was, who produced plenty of radio ready hit albums throughout the ’80s and ’90s, including Bonnie Raitt’s Nick Of Time and the B-52’s Cosmic Thing. (He was also the man behind 1988’s “Walk The Dinosaur.”)
The new album will hit stores on November 4, presumably on Adams’ label Pax-Am.