2016: The Year in Charts

Demolition

When Ryan Adams signed with Lost Highway last year, part of the deal was that the label would try, release-wise, to keep pace with his seemingly nonstop songwriting.

When Ryan Adams signed with Lost Highway last year, part of the deal was that the label would try, release-wise, to keep pace with his seemingly nonstop songwriting. Having already tacked a free five-song EP onto the first pressing of last year's celebrated Gold, the label further makes good on that promise with this demo collection. Among these 13 cuts are spare, acoustic numbers that seem like outtakes from the ex-Whiskeytown frontman's solo debut, 2000's Heartbreaker, and rockers that could have easily made Gold. ("You Will Always Be the Same" is an example of the former, "Hallelujah" the latter.) Especially nice are the piano-peppered "Cry on Demand," the air-guitar-inspiring singalong "Hallelujah," the comical "Tennessee Sucks," and the morose final cut, "Jesus (Don't Touch My Baby)." Gold left many Adams fans listening in awe at the leaps and bounds by which he was growing as a songwriter. This record doesn't do that; and though that's just fine, it makes Demolition less diverse and ultimately less exciting. But, without question, the writing and performances here are top shelf.—WO