At the risk of sounding presumptuous, Ryan Adams could very well be the rock and roll messiah. Eager to take chances and blend genres, Adams has some major musical muscle in his corner. He has released three albums in the past three months, and it’s obvious on his most recent release, Love Is Hell, Part 2, that he’s brimming with more talent and ambition than ever.

Touted as the later half of a more experimental album, Adams chose to release the Love is Hell albums on a smaller scale. The two-parter came out with significantly less hoopla than his other recent release Rock N Roll, due to the darker and less commercially savvy sound. There is also that tiny rumor that Adams brought the completed Love Is Hell album to Lost Highway and was promptly shown the door until able to offer the more upbeat Rock N Roll. In any case, the result equals a bevy of Adams materials delivered in a virtual avalanche.

Diehard Adams fans, and followers of his previous project Whiskeytown, will immediately notice the lessening of his country-drawl in’ in exchange for a more dramatic wail. Though different, this change is equally likable and shows Adams exploring yet another, unexpected musical facet. In this case, Adams offers his love songs cloaked in a distinctly melancholy tone, especially when compared to his crowd-pleasing 2001 release, Gold.

Adams has filled the album with elegant, weepy songs that are both ambient and uniquely personal, though never straying wildly from his tried and true sound. Expect a slow and bluesy song like “Hotel Chelsea Nights” to surely be stuck in your head and on repeat in your CD player for at least the next few weeks. In the meantime, pass the Kleenex.
[Brenna Boyce owes her membership dues to the double initial club. Pronto!]