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The Earliest Bird: Top New Recorded Release 8-19-22 – 8-25-22 Ryan Adam’s “FM” Reviewed

FM is a fucking great rock and roll album.

Sure, selling it for $25 on Pax Am is borderline fan abuse (I would recommend he speaks to Bruce about screwing your fanbase except Ryan remains cancelled so…) and it isn’t great art the way Chris was earlier this year. But what it certainly is is the best straight up, 70s-80s inspired, golden age of FM piece of work with ringing guitars, inspired Tom Petty steals, solos, soul takes, and while a completely unmistakable Adams, it is both generic and unique, nostalgic and fresh.

Anybody who has been paying attention has noted how Ryan’s divorce from Mandy Moore precipitated a “me too” moment that destroyed his career. Earlier this year he released the final two thirds off what amounts to his life during wartime trilogy, Chris has been one of the best albums of the year since its release and Romeo + Juliet is nearly as good. His sold out Carnegie Hall gig back in May (here) grounded him in greatness, and FM is a finishing to his own private Idaho and finds him still a king of singer songwriter confessionals and also genre busting hard rock.

The ten song, 32 minute, sound of Ryan rocking (he would need a band behind him to sell it on stage), is sublime in its simplicity, it stands alone as a beautiful, song for song, collection connected with a sound that used to take the Heartbreakers to create. It owes nothing expressly here, except the penultimate track “Do You Feel” where he gets awful close to plagiarism with “Let’s Go Crazy” riffing all the way through. The rest of them are subjective interpretation and even including the too close for comfort moments there is nothing here to be improved upon. Whether you want to hear guitar epics like “Wild And Hopeless” and “Fairweather” or the built for AM and FM radio “Fantasy File” and openers “I Want You” and “Love Me Don’t”, all topped off a tender soulfulness and his pained singing, he doesn’t let you down.

Ryan has had a great coupla years, two terrific albums, an acoustic tour, and now a third. Come home, Ryan. All is forgiven.

Chris – A

Romeo + Juliet – A-

FM – A

1 Comment

  1. David Thompson on August 22, 2022 at 12:46 pm

    Rock in’ Ryan

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