Why is Ryan Adams’ Love Is Hell on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Adams spans singer songwriter-y pop to chilled out rock to alt country for quite a moody trip.
What does Ryan Adams’ Love Is Hell mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Love Is Hell hits a number of different emotional notes and spans musical styles ranging from singer songwriter-y pop to chilled out rock to alt country. There’s a moodiness about it that I enjoy but that I honestly find it challenging to pinpoint and explain.
Some albums are like that – you like them but it’s harder, more elusive so as to explain why. And I suppose that’s true of all art, all forms of expression. Some people see a white canvas with a red square in the middle and see a towering masterpiece conveying bold use of negative space and evoking humankind’s struggle to find meaning in an inherently chaotic existence, and other people (and I’m gonna include myself in this latter group, typically) see a red square on white background.
To me, an album that I’m both willing to give additional time to after a cursory first listen — and one that continues to grow on me with subsequent listens — is a relatively rare thing. And I certainly feel that way about Love Is Hell.
“Anybody Wanna Take Me Home” has the feel of a weary Libertines song drenched in some essential Americana. And it totally works.
A major highlight on Love Is Hell is a cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall.” I really like how stripped down this version is, thus allowing for a raw emotional quality that’s quite compelling.
That’s two songs, interestingly, in which Ryan Adams seems either directly or indirectly influenced by British alternative rock bands.
And then there’s “English Girls Approximately” (yet another UK note!) which is a “Dylanesque Beth Orton kiss-off” according to Pitchfork, one that plays into Adams’ wheelhouse of sticking to “broken hearts and bar fights.”
And here’s a live version from Late Show With David Letterman.
This album also sounds like
As mentioned above, we’ve already got Oasis, The Libertines, and Bob Dylan, though it’s unlikely you’d get even two of those three if you asked 1,000 die hard Ryan Adams fans what this albums sounds like! Let’s also throw in Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke, and Conor Oberst.
Some stats & info about Ryan Adams – Love Is Hell
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop, Rock, Country, Alt Country, Singer Songwriter
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Love Is Hell released? 2004
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #969 out of 1,000
Ryan Adams’ Love Is Hell on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.