Prepare to dance in your undies again -- the Madonna of alt-country is back and louder than ever. With his first official follow-up to the critically acclaimed Gold, Ryan Adams has managed to successfully re-invent himself. Adams may have more albums under his belt than he will ever be able to release, but the 14 tracks that made it onto his much anticipated third effort, Rock 'N' Roll, are just as the title describes, a newer rock version of his passionate and skilled songwriting.
Not comparable to any of Adams' previous albums because of its drastic departure, Rock 'N' Roll is a loud, rambunctious, high-pitched, rocking good time, to say the very least. With the single "So Alive," showing off versatility as a singer never previously seen in his work, and taking him literally to new heights, it's almost difficult to believe that this album even belongs to the same Ryan Adams.
Don't go putting that Heartbreaker hankie away just yet, though. Yes, Adams has traded in his melancholy to rock out a bit, but he has not lost his sentimentality -- he's simply having more fun, penning songs with titles like "Do Miss America," and "Note To Self: Don't Die." For a moment he has stopped taking himself so seriously, and with the memorable lyrics expected of him, some infectiously fun guitars, a little bit of a punk edge, and vocal cameos by Billie Joe Armstrong, Melissa Auf Der Mar and girlfriend Parker Posey, Ryan Adams is doing what he damn well pleases. Clearly, it's paying off.