I’m very excited for the LPs coming out in the final third of 2014, chief among them is Ryan Adams, an artist I will tirelessly follow across all his peaks and valleys. It’s been three years since we heard his new material (the backstory of why is pretty sad and fascinating in its own right) but when I listened to the opening bars of “Gimmie Something Good” I knew it would be worth waiting for. Ryan Adams won’t write bad or weak songs — because he knows what he is doing — but artists always change, and so far, the subtle changes he’s made in his taste and structure fit are heading in the right direction.

I love how hook-filled he made the chorus, how anthemic, and the little bright, resonant intro that is just enough behind the beat to add a bluesy quality. Adams still plays guitar with the best of them and his style is clean, aggressive, committed — a Ryan Adams song or melody never ends without a resolve, hence the satisfaction factor.

“Gimmie Something Good” has easily been one of my favorite singles of the year, mostly for the chorus but also for all that reverb. The last album he released was on the softer side, and though I loved it and found it gorgeous, here we have amps cranked up and electric-fueled energy, like the old days, and it’s a refreshing sound, one that sounds like reclamation. It’s in the chorus, too — that cry for revival.

Lyrically I love how his words tend to flash between the past and present, how he would go on for sentences. But this is much more abrupt, direct, succinct, and where one could say that reflects a lack of creativity in metaphor, you can also say it means he’s getting the point across better. Unlike other forms of writing, lyrics don’t need to be direct to be good. Neither do they have to be overly flowery. This song is as straightforward as it gets, and it excites me to hear what other proclamations are in store come Sept. 9.

I’ve found I enjoy listening to artists progress, especially those who apparently seem like they’ve already reached their peak in days gone by. When you do this, you learn everyone still has something to prove. Every artist still has a story to tell. When some have written them off, when they themselves may have done the same, the words and notes leave these little cues of how they’ve processed and come back from that, and a song like “Gimmie Something Good” provides no better lesson. I could talk for days about how brilliant “Easy Tiger” is, or defend “Rock ‘n’ Roll” to the haters, and I’m sure I’ll read lots about how even with his upcoming self-titles accomplishments, Ryan Adams is still no longer the rock star he was. I disagree. Tonight I’ll just play the new stuff and look forward to hearing more, appreciating hearing the old and the familiar in the new and irresistible.
“All my life,
Been shaking,
Wanting something,
Holding everything I have like it was broken
Gimme something good,
Gimme something good
Gimme something good

Gimme something good…”

~Gimmie Something Good
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams