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Heartbreaker (Ryan Adams album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 5, 2000
RecordedWoodland Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
ProducerEthan Johns
Ryan Adams chronology

Heartbreaker is the debut solo studio album by American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, released September 5, 2000, by Bloodshot Records. The album was recorded over fourteen days at Woodland Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. It was nominated for the 2001 Shortlist Music Prize. The album is said to be inspired by Adams' break-up with music industry publicist Amy Lombardi.[2]

According to Adams, the album's title originates from a poster of Mariah Carey: "My manager called and said, 'You have 15 seconds to name this record,' "My eyes focused on this poster of Mariah wearing a T-shirt that said HEARTBREAKER. I just shouted, 'Heartbreaker!'"[3]

A Deluxe Edition, featuring bonus recording session takes and pre-album demos, was released on May 6, 2016 on PAX-AM records.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
American Songwriter[5]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[6]
The Guardian[7]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]

Heartbreaker was considered by critics to be a fresh start for Ryan Adams after the demise of his previous band Whiskeytown. AllMusic's Mark Derning wrote that the album "is loose, open, and heartfelt in a way Whiskeytown's admittedly fine albums never were, and makes as strong a case for Adams' gifts as anything his band ever released", concluding that "the strength of the material and the performances suggest Adams is finally gaining some much-needed maturity, and his music is all the better for it."[4] The A.V. Club's Keith Phipps wrote: "Adams has recorded an intimate, largely quiet record that indisputably establishes his identity as an independent singer-songwriter".[14] Pitchfork's Steven Byrd called it "an album of astonishing musical proficiency, complete honesty and severe beauty."[9] Rolling Stone's Anthony DeCurtis was less enthusiastic, stating that Adams' songs "too often fail to rise above their plain-spoken details to take on the symbolic power he yearns for".[11] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice selected "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)" as a "choice cut",[15] indicating a "good song on an album that isn't worth your time or money."[16]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[17] and was placed at #23 on Paste Magazine's "The 50 Best Albums of the Decade" list.[18]

Track listing


All tracks are written by Ryan Adams, except where noted

1."(Argument with David Rawlings Concerning Morrissey)" 0:37[a]
2."To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)"Ryan Adams, David Rawlings3:04
3."My Winding Wheel" 3:13
4."Amy" 3:46
5."Oh My Sweet Carolina" 4:57
6."Bartering Lines"Ryan Adams, Van Alston3:59
7."Call Me On Your Way Back Home" 3:09
8."Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)" 2:08
9."Come Pick Me Up"Ryan Adams, Van Alston5:18
10."To Be the One" 3:01
11."Why Do They Leave?" 3:38
12."Shakedown on 9th Street" 2:53
13."Don't Ask for the Water" 2:56
14."In My Time of Need" 5:39
15."Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st)" 3:39
French bonus CD, Unreleased Tracks from the Heartbreaker sessions
1."Goodbye Honey"  
2."To Be Young (Is To Be Sad Is To Be High)" (Acoustic version)Ryan Adams, David Rawlings 
Heartbreaker Deluxe Edition Box Set (2016) CD - Disc 2, Original Album Sessions
1."Hairdresser On Fire" (Outtake from Original Album Session)Morrissey / Stephen Street 
2."To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)" (Outtake from Original Album Session)Ryan Adams, David Rawlings 
3."Petal in a Rainstorm" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
4."War Horse" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
5."Oh My Sweet Carolina" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
6."Come Pick Me Up" (Outtake from Original Album Session)Ryan Adams, Van Alston 
7."Punk Jam" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
8."When the Rope Gets Tight" (Alternative Version, Outtake from Original Album Session)  
9."When the Rope Gets Tight" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
10."Goodbye Honey" (Bonus Track from Original Release)  
11."In My Time of Need" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
12."Bartering Lines" (Album Demo)Ryan Adams, Van Alston 
13."Come Pick Me Up" (Album Demo)Ryan Adams, Van Alston 
14."To Be the One" (Album Demo)  
15."Don't Ask for the Water" (Album Demo)  
16."In My Time of Need" (Album Demo)  
17."Goodbye Honey" (Album Demo)  
18."Petal in a Rainstorm" (Album Demo)  
19."War Horse" (Album Demo)  
20."Locked Away" (Outtake from Original Album Session)  
Heartbreaker Deluxe Edition Box Set (2016) DVD - Disc 3, Live New York show at the Mercury Lounge in October 2000
1."Oh My Sweet Carolina" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
2."Gimme Sunshine" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
3."To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
4."Amy" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
5."Call Me On Your Way Back Home" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
6."Just Like a Whore" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
7."Wonderwall" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)Noel Gallagher 
8."Damn, Sam (I Love a Woman That Rains)" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
9."Sweet Lil Gal (23rd/1st)" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
10."Come Pick Me Up" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)Ryan Adams, Van Alston 
11."My Winding Wheel" (Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC, Oct. 2000)  
  • ^[a] A brief recording of Adams and Rawlings arguing about which album the track "Suedehead" appears on.




  • Ryan Adams - vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, piano, banjo
  • Ethan Johns - drums, bass, Chamberlain, glockenspiel, B-3, vibes
  • David Rawlings - backing vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, tambourine
  • Gillian Welch - backing vocals, banjo, acoustic guitar, electric bass, "voice of Lucy"
  • Pat Sansone - piano (5, 9, 11), Chamberlin and organ (6), backing vocals (2)
  • Emmylou Harris - backing vocals (5)
  • Kim Richey - backing vocals (9)
  • Allison Pierce - backing vocals (11)



Other information


"Shakedown on 9th Street" was covered on the Red Dirt band No Justice's Live at Billy Bob's album in 2007.

"Oh My Sweet Carolina" has been covered at least twice. The song can be heard on the deluxe edition of Zac Brown Band's 2010 album You Get What You Give, as well as on the 2008 Portastatic release Some Small History. Contestant Paul McDonald sang "Come Pick Me Up" on American Idol.[19]

English DJ Mark Ronson remixed the song "Amy" for his 2007 album Version, of which singer Kenna provides vocals. The song "To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)" is featured in the 2006 film Accepted, the 2002 film The Slaughter Rule, and the 2003 film Old School. A version of this song was also released in 2009 by David Rawlings on the Dave Rawlings Machine album A Friend of a Friend. "Come Pick Me Up" is featured in the film Elizabethtown (which also featured two other Ryan Adams songs) and in a Series 2 episode of Skins. It was also named #285 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 500 songs of the 2000s". Joan Baez would cover "In My Time of Need" in 2003.

Elton John has famously credited the Heartbreaker album as helping to regenerate his career and in 2002 he performed songs from it with Ryan Adams and did a joint interview with him where he thanked Ryan.[20]




Country Peak
Ireland[21] 67
U.S. (2016)[22] 140
UK[23] 183


  1. ^ Stylus Staff (March 22, 2004). "Top 101–200 Favourite Albums Ever". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on February 16, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2023. ...the upbeat roots-rockers are too few and far between...to make Heartbreaker anything more than just great.
  2. ^ Ryan Adams: Saving Private Ryan
  3. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 21, 2008. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  4. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Heartbreaker – Ryan Adams". AllMusic. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  5. ^ Beviglia, Jim (May 12, 2016). "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker". American Songwriter. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  6. ^ Sullivan, James (September 8, 2000). "Heartbreaker". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 21, 2015. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Cameron, Keith (December 8, 2000). "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker (Cooking Vinyl)". The Guardian. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  8. ^ Chick, Stevie (November 27, 2000). "Heartbreaker". NME: 34. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Byrd, Steven (September 5, 2000). "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  10. ^ "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker". Q (172): 104. January 2001.
  11. ^ a b DeCurtis, Anthony (September 14, 2000). "Heartbreaker". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  12. ^ Randall, Mac (2004). "Ryan Adams". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Jones, Allan (July 2016). "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker". Uncut (230): 85–87. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2016.
  14. ^ Phipps, Keith (September 5, 2000). "Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (April 3, 2001). "Consumer Guide: Vibrators". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Key to Icons". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  17. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  18. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of the Decade (2000–2009)". Retrieved 2016-08-11.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "American Idol Top 13: Paul McDonald introduces JLo to Ryan Adams". Christian Science Monitor. 2011-03-10. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2017-12-23.
  20. ^ Jon Wiederhorn (2001-10-04). "Elton John Bags Technology; Praises Eminem, Ryan Adams". MTV. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-24.
  21. ^ "Irish Charts". Irish-charts.com. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  22. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  23. ^ "UK Chart Log". zobbel.de. Retrieved 2009-11-22.