There are some records you keep coming back too. You feel like there is a personal connection, maybe because of the lyrical content, the mood, hte style, or reasons unknown. Heartbreaker is one of those records for me. I must’ve listened to it hundreds of times, and I can’t seem to get tired of it. It hits me. It lifts me up when I’m down, and gives me company when I feel alone. It’s a classic break-up album, like Beck’s Sea Changes or Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. And while I rate those highly aswell, Heartbreaker has a special place in my heart. So I was thrilled to find out a deluxe edition was being released.
Musically, Heartbreaker is a mix between Americana and Country. Thematically and Lyrically, it’s all about various forms of heartbreak, abandonment and feeling alone. Now, this has been done numerous times, by artists of all ages and genres. But it’s the way Adams does it, that makes you remember these songs. In some songs, like Call Me On Your Way Back Home, you can feel his pain, often amplified by his harmonica. No one does sadness like Ryan Adams. Only one song is really different from the rest, and that’s Shakedown On 9th Street. Essentially a song about a barbrawl, it’s all out garagerock, thumping guitars and screeching guitars. It feels a little out of place, but is still a great song in my opinion.
What’s extra on the deluxe edition are some extra linear notes, which might sound stupid, but I found out that in the intro he says “Eth’s got a mouth full of cookies”, a reference to producer Ethan Johns, who due to timing hadn’t eaten in a while. For some people, that might be silly info, but to me, it makes me feel more connected.
There’s also an extra cd with extra demo’s and songs. They give you extra insight in the recording sessions aswell, almost like you’re sitting there while they’re playing. Only 4 people were constantly in the studio, so obviously there had to be a certain connection between these people. These tracks show that bond, the playful nature of all involved shining through.
Lastly, a DVD is included aswell. This has a recorded live performance from 2000, Adams solo on guitar and piano. The quality of the images isn’t particularly good, a grainy camera filming the whole thing from the back. But the sound is almost the opposite, capturing all the fine nuances in the tracks. Also, it’s probably one of the first times he’s played his version of Wonderwall, which was later featured on Love Is Hell. Just put it on without the video, it won’t add much. Maybe a live cd would’ve been better.
My favourite track is Oh My Sweet Carolina. It’s my go to song when I feel sad. Emmylou Harris’s voice just adds that little bit extra to make it one of the great songs, like she did with Heart Of Gold with Neil Young. It’s flawless, and I could listen to it forever and not get bored.
To cap it off, just get this album. Deluxe edition or not. If you’re a fan, the deluxe edition just adds to the greatness that Heartbreaker is. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I urge you to do so. It can be a companion when you need it to. Like it has been for me on numerous occasions.