Note to Self: Don’t Die

ryan adams

Whose music has moved you more than anyone over the past 10 years?

I asked myself this question about 10 years ago, half way through the first decade of the new century.

If it’s one thing that has defined the 21st century so far it has been the breakneck speed of change – one day you’re listening to your relatively new CD collection and the next day you’ve got the entire collection in the palm of your hand.

And yet, if I ask myself this same question 10 years on from the first time I asked it, the answer is still the same.  Only now it’s 20 years.

From his kick-ass punk-country debut Faithless Street with Whiskeytown in 1995 to his solo double punch of Heartbreaker & Gold in 2000-2001, a couple classics with the Cardinals a few years later and right through to his new album, Ryan Adams has consistently cranked out high quality tunes for 20 years.  And at a higher quality than any other artist or band.

Incidentally, he just lost out to Beck for 2014’s “Best Rock Album of the Year” – another musical giant whose prolific output since the mid 90’s is impeccable.


My only complaint over the years with Adams had always been his perceived lack of humor when it came to his name, closely resembling that other Adams in sight and sound.

However, it seems that Adams the Younger has finally come to grips with his name and much more.  Read on.

If you question my bold claim, I challenge you to find me a song post 1994 that is…

…prettier than:  When the Stars Go Blue

…more feel-good than:  Firecracker

…a better Oasis cover than:  Wonderwall

…a catchier song about the Big Apple than:  New York, New York

…or a better non-parody 80’s tribute song than:  Gimme Something Good 

And as clearly seen on this final “live” video proof for my case, Adams has embraced his inner 80’s child as well as his Canadian cousin:  Run to You

Like many of his ideas around the time of his forgettable Rock n Roll, “Note to Self: Don’t Die” sounded like a bad idea.  Even without hearing it.  However, I am now very glad he wrote that note to himself and didn’t go the way of Kurt Cobain or Jeff Buckley – two other musicians who had a lot more to give us.

jeff buckley2

I understand if you take umbrage at my claim.  Therefore, I invite you to challenge me right back.

Tell me whose music has moved you most over the past 20 years.

P.S. My 3 Best Alternatives:


Thom Yorke/Radiohead

Jeff Tweedy/Uncle Tupelo/Wilco



2 thoughts on “Note to Self: Don’t Die

  1. Thom Yorke, Beck and Jeff Tweedy I would imagine would be on many people’s lists, but not necessarily Ryan Adams. It’s an interesting choice and well-argued. It’s not easy to sustain quality creative output for that long a period of time and he definitely has. The only other person that comes to mind for me is Nick Cave. And not just for his music, but for his writing of books, screenplays, and movie soundtracks. There have been collaborations with Kylie and PJ, numerous albums with the Bad Seeds (Let Love In and The Boatman’s Call are particularly strong) and with Grinderman. The Caveman is proliferate and quite the renaissance man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, the Caveman was next on my list. However, I’ve never been compelled to go out and buy his full albums. I’ve been moved by individual tracks (Into My Arms, Dig Lazarus!, etc.) but rarely by an album start to finish. Nevertheless, he’s an amazing artist and I was moved on a visceral level by Bunny Monroe! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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