Tuesday, November 07, 2006

not even ryan adams can fuck up willie

ok, i hardly ever actually do 'album reviews' on my blog, because frankly, i don't really feel i 'need' to review an album unless it pisses me off, and in that case, it usually just pisses me off to even review it. but, having recently attained the newest willie nelson album, i have to re-post a bit from pitchfork that i agree with totally (which is rare with me and those pitchfork bastards).

"Songbird, which features Willie's typical assortment of covers and new takes on his own songs, shouldn't be as good as it is. Its flaws are obvious and mistakable, and yet, after a few listens, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny its warm vibe and easy, anything-goes sensibility.

Up close, it's a real mess. Adams' gloppy production disregards the natural rise and fall of Willie's distinctive voice and the odd cadence of his phrasing. As a producer, Adams adds too many guitars and just too much sound to these songs, such that Willie seems to get lost in the Grateful Dead cover "Stella Blue" and Gram Parsons' "$1000 Wedding". And the gospel choir on "Blue Hotel" and "Hallelujah" (more on the latter later) seems crassly over the top. Furthermore, Adams' backing band, the Cardinals, create a sound as shaggy as Adams' haircut, taking as many liberties with meter and melody as Willie does but without exhibiting his grace, control, and subtlety. Too often they barrel over his vocals and guitar solos, especially toward the end of "Hallelujah". Only harmonica player Mickey Raphael seems attuned to Willie's style, but then, they've been playing together for decades."

to sum up (in an immature and gradeschoolish manner)...ryan adams, you suck. willie, you can do no wrong.

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