Thursday, November 12, 2009

Noughties By Nature #45: Ryan Adams - Afraid Not Scared

I brought the Love Is Hell album pretty much on a whim. Well, not a complete whim, as I'd read some good press about it, but I wasn't intending on getting it until I saw it, cheap, in my local music shop (which now, like so many other wonderful music shops, has shut down). I was on my way home, stopped off, and picked this up. On getting home I stuck it on for a listen, sat down on the end of my bed, and didn't move for nearly two and a half hours, listening to it twice non-stop. By that second run through, this song had me blubbing by eyes out, sat on my bed.

See, Afraid Not Scared is the most fractured, broken and heartbreaking song released this decade. Even now, five years on, I'm not ready for how much it hits you square on like an emotional juggernaut. It's as simple as Adams and his guitar and his voice, and that's it. It's astonisingly stark and brutally raw, especially as he howls out the coda of "I'm getting really cold and I'm looking at you and you're not moving". The music is brittle and simple, creating space for the song to breathe and the emotion to come through. If you're not even moved a little, tiny bit by this, then I fully believe you have no soul.
Oliver Billenness

[YouTube (live)]
[Album: Love Is Hell]

1 comment:

Lew said...

Thanks for the piece on 'Afraid Not Scared.' I just read some other blogger who said it was a boring song. I can't imagine how anyone could think so, and it was cool to see your piece. I love almost all of RA's output, but there are some songs which owe everything to his voice, to how he can tear your heart out with a couple of sung notes. I am always surprised not to see him on more lists of best vocalists.