ROMEO & JULIET
PAXAM RECORDING COMPANY
Three years since the NY Times article that revealed his totally inappropriate behaviour with past partners, fellow musicians and fans and cast him into the musical wilderness, Ryan Adams has been slowly rebuilding his career on his own label. Wednesdays (2020), Big Colors (2021) and Chris (2022) preceded this new double album and though they had some strong moments, Romeo & Juliet finds Adams comprehensively back in a creative and rewarding sweet spot on his 20th studio album.
Memories, nostalgia, laments, lost love and regrets fill the album. There are stories such as the title track with its Dylan meets Reed narrative, personal songs about his cats and searching for a better self. The album’s more tender, low-key and engaging than his 80s rock sounding efforts and finds him settling back into alt-country, lush folk and soulful indie rock. At various times you can hear Buckley and Springsteen informing the sound of his voice as it travels from falsetto to melancholic murmering.
‘Run’, ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘I Can’t Remember’ in particular are up there with the best songs Adams has written. The danger of a double album is too much filler but he mixes it up enough with jangly, sparkling guitars, acoustic guitar, drum machines, atmospheric keyboards and low key vs upbeat moments that it never feels overstretched. A welcome return to form!