Artist: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Label: UMG Recordings
The 21st-best album on our countdown is Ryan Adams & The Cardinals' Cardinology. Similar to yesterday's featured artist, Ray LaMontagne, Adams knows how to capture the spirit of days past, but in a completely different way. I won't go as far to call him completely alt-country, however, I will say that he does seem to melt folk and classic rock nostalgia in a way that is hard to come by. The guy has soul, and this album does not stray away from that fact, as Adams embraces emotion on each track, progressing more and more as the record goes, reaching a crescendo around midway through, before slowing to a halt by the closer, "Stop".
This record seems to fall into a large category of albums this year- ones which you can simply appreciate and enjoy, and don't have to get too wrapped up in to listen to. With the year lacking any real ground-breaking material, I was at least glad to see this trend begin. Not to say that this was a bad year for music; on the contrary, it was an extremely good one, from top to bottom. I just think that the year's best is not as clear cut as we've seen in some years' past, and that there is a much shorter distance between 1 and 25 than before. Cardinology lends to this, and might I suggest taking it for a few spins before giving your final evaluation. Smaller aspects can be appreciated more after a couple times, and it adds to the familiarity of the record. For some comparisons, check out Ryan Adams' solo stuff, Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.
Best Track: "Born Into A Light"