Love Is Hell (Ryan Adams album)

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Love Is Hell
Love Is Hell.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 4, 2004
RecordedNew York, September 2 to September 6, 2002; and New Orleans, February 2003
Genre
Length68:01
LabelLost Highway Records
Producer
Ryan Adams chronology
Rock n Roll
(2003)
Love Is Hell
(2004)
Cold Roses
(2005)
Singles from Love Is Hell
  1. "Wonderwall"
    Released: June 28, 2004

Love Is Hell is the fifth studio album by American musician Ryan Adams, released on May 4, 2004. The album was originally released as two EPs, Love Is Hell pt. 1 and Love Is Hell pt. 2, at the insistence of Lost Highway, who deemed that the album was not commercially viable. A full-length version of the album was released when the EPs proved to be more of a commercial success than anticipated. Love Is Hell features guest contributions from Marianne Faithfull and Greg Leisz, as well as Fabrizio Moretti and Leona Naess on certain bonus tracks.

Background and release[edit]

Love Is Hell was initially rejected by Adams's label Lost Highway, who had deemed its sound as "too alternative rock"[1] and considered it not to be commercially viable.[2][3] As a result, Adams recorded Rock n Roll in two weeks,[4][5] which was released as his official fourth studio album on November 4, 2003, and the content of Love Is Hell was released as two EPs: Love Is Hell pt. 1 on the same day as Rock n Roll and Love Is Hell pt. 2 on December 9. The EPs were eventually combined into one album, which was released on May 4, 2004 as Adams's fifth studio album. The Oasis cover "Wonderwall" was released as a single from Love Is Hell in the UK on June 28, 2004. The album was released in Japan on June 27, 2007 with a bonus disc of tracks recorded during the same sessions as the album.[6]

The track "The Shadowlands" was written backstage in Belfast on November 26, 2002, with Adams performing it as his opening song.[citation needed] The track "Anybody Wanna Take Me Home" was included on both Rock n Roll and Love Is Hell, although in different versions. As it appears on Rock n Roll, the song is 4:46 long and features a fade out and fade-back-in effect, whereas the Love Is Hell version is longer, clocking at 5:31, and does not include the fade effects.

Adams's version of "Wonderwall" was made available as downloadable content for the 2008 video game Guitar Hero World Tour as part of an acoustic pack in January 2009.[7]

Composition[edit]

Adams described the album as sounding "a lot like Heartbreaker, but better and more severe. It's complex and it's damaged,"[3] and stated that it "was the record [he] needed to make."[8] In a 2007 interview, he noted that he loves to play songs from the album live, and that the songs are "usually tunes that The Cardinals and myself get really excited about when they come up in the set."[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[10]
NME9/10[11]
Pitchfork3.1/10[12]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[1]

Love Is Hell received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the Pt. 1 EP received an average score of 74 based on 16 reviews,[13] while Pt. 2 received an average score of 78 based on 12 reviews.[14] Both scores indicate "generally favorable reviews".

In a positive review for Rolling Stone, Bill Crandall opined that Adams's label were wrong when they told him that Love Is Hell was "not [his] best stuff" and wrote that the album "is an exquisite portrait of the artist as a tired young man: tired of love, tired of fame and, most of all, tired of lonely nights spent in the Chelsea Hotel [sic]".[1] John Robinson of NME compared the way Lost Highway released Rock n Roll and Love Is Hell to "[having] thrown away the fruit, and chosen to heavily promote the banana peel", viewing Love Is Hell as "an album that actually is classic rock 'n' roll rather than one that can simply impersonate it" like Rock n Roll.[11]

In a negative review, Hartley Goldstein wrote for Pitchfork that "Adams is, at heart, an extremely gifted songwriter" but panned his prolificness, feeling that Love Is Hell is " a collection of preposterously cheerless (and charmless) songs that try much too hard to achieve a poignancy — or anything, really — that might hide their complete insignificance". However, he cited the songs "English Girls Approximately" and "Hotel Chelsea Nights" as highlights, describing them as "happy accidents" and "moments of clarity" on the record.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Ryan Adams, unless otherwise stated.

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Political Scientist" 4:33
2."Afraid Not Scared" 4:13
3."This House Is Not for Sale" 3:53
4."Anybody Wanna Take Me Home" 5:31
5."Love Is Hell" 3:19
6."Wonderwall"Noel Gallagher4:09
7."The Shadowlands" 5:18
8."World War 24" 4:17
9."Avalanche" 5:09
10."My Blue Manhattan" 2:23
11."Please Do Not Let Me Go" 3:37
12."City Rain, City Streets" 3:49
13."I See Monsters" 3:57
14."English Girls Approximately" 5:42
15."Thank You Louise" 2:52
16."Hotel Chelsea Nights" 5:10
Japanese version bonus disc[6]
No.TitleLength
1."Halloween"3:52
2."Caterwaul"5:41
3."Fuck the Universe"7:29
4."Twice as Bad as Love"4:14
5."Father's Son"3:36
6."Gimme Sunshine"3:5
7."Black Clouds"4:48
French version
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Political Scientist" 4:33
2."Afraid Not Scared" 4:13
3."This House Is Not for Sale" 3:53
4."Love Is Hell" 3:19
5."Wonderwall"Noel Gallagher4:09
6."The Shadowlands" 5:18
7."World War 24" 4:17
8."Avalanche" 5:09
9."Caterwaul" 5:41
10."Halloween" 3:52
11."My Blue Manhattan" 2:23
12."Please Do Not Let Me Go" 3:37
13."City Rain, City Streets" 3:49
14."I See Monsters" 3:57
15."English Girls Approximately" 5:42
16."Thank You Louise" 2:52
17."Hotel Chelsea Nights" 5:10
18."Fuck the Universe" 7:29
19."Twice as Bad as Love" 4:14

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

Country Peak
position
Belgium (Flanders)[15] 87
UK[16] 62

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Peak
position
2004 "Wonderwall" UK Singles Chart[16] 27

Personnel[edit]

New York Band on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 14[edit]

  • Paul Garisto – drums
  • Johnny Pisano – bass
  • Joe McGinty – piano
  • Johnny McNabb – lead guitar

New Orleans Band on tracks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16[edit]

  • Greg Leisz – lead guitar, pedal steel
  • Ricky Fataar – drums on all except 10, 11, 13, 15
  • James "Hutch" Hutchinson – bass on all except 13, 15
  • Ian McLagan – B3 organ, Wurlitzer electric piano on all except 11, 13, 15, 16
  • Jon Cleary - piano, Wurlitzer electric piano, rhythm guitar on all except 10, 11, 13
  • Ruth Gottlieb - violin on all except 11, 16
  • Sarah Wilson - cello on all except 11, 16

Bonus tracks[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crandall, Bill (December 10, 2003). "Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell Pt. 1 / Love Is Hell Pt. 2". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 21, 2019. [H]is label balked as [sic] his new songs, telling him they were 'too alternative rock'.
  2. ^ Spitz, Marc (2003-11-24). "Who The F**k Is Ryan Adams?". Spin. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  3. ^ a b Simmons, Sylvie (November 21, 2003). "I've been jumping off bridges". The Guardian. Retrieved August 19, 2008.
  4. ^ Posey, Parker (December 2003). "Ryan Adams: behind closed doors, one of music's most idiosyncratic heartbreakers gets intimate with his paramour, actress Parker Posey, opening up about finding his voice and getting his rock on". BNET. Archived from the original on 2006-01-12. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  5. ^ Watson, Ian (January 2004). "Ryan Adams". Rolling Stone (Australia), January 2004. Rolling Stone.
  6. ^ a b Love Is Hell (Japanese Edition 2CDs) at Discogs
  7. ^ Miller, Ross (January 27, 2009). "Guitar Hero World Tour Monthly: Wings, Bob Seger, Shins, Incubus, Ryan Adams". Engadget. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  8. ^ Uhelszki, Jaan (January 2004). "Ryan Adams: Saved By R'n'R". HARP Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  9. ^ Klein, Joshua (2007-07-23). "Interview: Ryan Adams". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
  10. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Love Is Hell – Ryan Adams". AllMusic. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Robinson, John. "Adams, Ryan : Love Is Hell Pts 1&2". NME. Archived from the original on January 18, 2004. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Goldstein, Hartley (January 7, 2004). "Ryan Adams: Love Is Hell, Pts. 1 & 2". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  13. ^ "Love Is Hell, Part 1 [EP] by Ryan Adams Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  14. ^ "Love Is Hell, Part 2 [EP] by Ryan Adams Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  15. ^ "Belgian Love Is Hell position". ultratop.be. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
  16. ^ a b "UK Chart Log". zobbel.de. Retrieved 2008-11-22.