Merriam-Webster defines the word “shame” as follows:
A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety … Something that brings censure or reproach.
Such is a foreign concept to ever-mercurial and unpredictably, uh, what’s a nice of putting it ... bold alt-country trouveur, Ryan Adams. In case you haven’t heard, Adams has just released Orion: his “most legit METAL record” — a claim even he himself has back-peddled a bit from, later claiming the album is, “just really really fast country with screaming and crap.” Purchase it here to decide for yourself.
Apparently fast crap-screaming is what floats the boat when one tires of mid-tempo wallowing about heartache in America like a sad bastard.
Of course, this isn’t Adams’ first experiment with rock sub-genres. I mean, who could forget 2003’s overwrought testosterone overcompensator, Rock N Roll? A lot of people. Sounds like R.A. is trying to rawk even harder this time around.
Whether it’s metal or just his interpretation of cow-punk, if the 1:47 sample-track posted above is representative of the record as a whole, it's seeming like this in-your-face vanity endeavor of Adams’ is either a joke that’s plain not funny, or a sincere stab at artistic diversification that’s absolutely hysterical. The track, titled “Electro Snake”— no joke — sounds like a Foo Fighters throwaway bar-rocker (think “Wind Up”) but with Dave Grohl attempting a humorous impression of Accept singer Udo Dirkschneider fighting off laryngitis.
LMFAO, right? Even more punchline-inducing than the realized idea of Adams exorcising his inner-metal-head — or his skills as a metrist — is that of him backing up grunge-rock succubus and undisputed queen of legacy-pissing Courtney Love on a cover of James Carr’s “The Dark End of the Street." It was a country-soul classic I’d considered a candidate for “greatest song of all-time” until I witnessed its execution-style murder on YouTube. (See below.)
Sheesh. Talk about new heights of audacity. What’s up with C-Lo venturing WAAAYYY out of her element and applying her chainsaw-in-throat-banshee-howl to a song Gram Parsons barely even pulled off? As if her treating Big Star's "Thirteen" with the same kind of love Hannibal Lecter would a jail guard's face wasn’t enough, she goes all Buffalo Bill on James Carr — who I’m now picturing singing the blues at the bottom of a well in her basement, feverishly putting lotion all over himself to keep her from singing “Goodbye Horses” for the 82nd time.
In case you need a reference point for that Dirkschneider comparison, here’s an old chestnut: