If ever a day almost reaches its inevitable end without my heart getting caught in my throat, or without remembering the beauty that is just being, may I always remind myself to go listen to some acoustic Ryan Adams, and everything will settle into where it ought to be.
This performance of “Desire” for Austin City Limits is tender and quiet, the version of Adams that I think I like second-best, after the slightly manic howling one. I ought to go back and listen to “Demolition,” it’s been quite some time and it never captivated in the ways “Heartbreaker,” “Easy Tiger” or the Cardinals records did, but I’m quite happy to indulge in this for now (I also love his to this performance preface as reported by Rolling Stone). I am such a sucker for this kind of song structure, the one that’s an endless, silky, melody repeated for each line, without any kind of interruption. It’s the kind of song you can write when you latch onto the perfect little sequence of three or five or seven notes that can be cycle through. Adams, who is equally adept at spinning a soul-shattering chorus, finds a stunning one here, and he softly lifts his voice to let it lilt away, letting the three-syllables of the title express so much more than he bothers to say.
“Two hearts fading, like a flower.
And all this waiting, for the power.
For some answer, to this fire.
Sinking slowly. The water’s higher.
With no secrets. No obsession.
This time I’m speeding with no direction.
Without a reason. What is this fire?
Burning slowly. My one and only.
You know me.
You don’t mind waiting.
You just can’t show me, but God I’m praying,
That you’ll find me, and that you’ll see me,
That you run and never tire.
Ryan Adams, Demolition