Ryan Adcock – From Silence and Joy

Ryan Adcock
From Silence and Joy

I had an argument a few years ago while driving to Boston with a friend of mine whose father is in the music business – not the amalgamation of CD-R basement labels, back-of-the-laundromat grindcore/alt-country/math-metal Tuesday night shows, and hand-sewn “Theseus Vs. The Mini-Tour” t-shirts that I live in, but, rather, the ostensibly glossy world of major-label contracts, producing albums for hastily-assembled nu-metal unit-shifters and AOR Methuselahs. The argument centered around whether or not the radio was a viable place to find musicians of merit, and lasted the entire ride up Rt. 90. She stood firm on the issue that the bands were not as bad as I was making them out to be, despite my frothing-mouthed point-counterpoint comparison of The Dismemberment Plan and Limp Bizkit. Now, years later, after reviewing the pearl that Mister Ryan Adcock has seen fit to send me, complete with the self-congratulatory monologue in the CD insert booklet, I find myself wishing depserately for two things. One of those things is for Dr. Emmett Brown to crash the Time Train through my dormitory wall so that I can go back in time and submit this album as proof in my argument that all the radio attracts are people marketing themselves to be milquetoast and malleable, and that the music they put out is inherently empty and flaccid. The other thing I want is for Ryan Adcock to shut the fuck up.
The title of the album – From Silence and Joy – is, according to Adcock’s website, a nod to his songwriting process. Not From Johnny Rzeznik’s High School English Class Portfolio? Well, there’s artistic license for you, I guess; funny that it should turn up there and not on any of his 11 songs. No, what we’re treated to instead is nearly an hour of good-ole-boy heartfelt musings – and I use that term sourly – on such demographic-friendly topics as: Not being able to sleep! Traveling long distances! Relationships that are compared to inclement weather/wars/the passage of time! He even toes the truth when he tries out self-referentiality and self-deprication, tricks he must have gotten from “How to Write Songs that Will Get You Pussy for Dummies”: “I am a rockstar, but no-one seems to be listening.” Which song is that from? It’s track five or six, maybe, but it doesn’t really matter, because they all sound the same. Some review of this album – apparently written under the influence of either laughing gas or an envelope full of unmarked 20s – noted that there “were no B-sides” on the album. Well, of course not; that would imply that the songs are distinguishable from each other. At least Matchbox 20 occasionally gets stuck in my head. Oh, here’s a tip to aspiring Clear Channel disciples: half-heartedly adding a cello to a song does not automatically make it distinct.
I realize that I’ve accidentally lied; I have a third wish. It’s for the DOA offices to never have recieved this album in the first place. It isn’t so much that I don’t want to review it – its hilariously pompous liner notes, in which Adcock pleads with us to listen to this album loudly to do it justice, are comedy gold – but allowing us the opportunity to never mention it would increase the chances of nobody hearing it. My greatest fear is that one of these tracks will become a one-hit wonder, riding on John Mayer’s coattails, and people will pay money for something so blatantly opportunistic. It’s obvious that Adcock is fighting artists like Jack Johnson tooth and nail for control of the tour circuit just under the VH1 radar, and while I won’t be completely surprised if he manages to get a nod in some Spin sidebar, it sure won’t be a sign that he’s improved – just that he’s managed to milk the right praise from the right people for being appropriately complimentary to the right artists at the right time. I’m not saying that I want you to go so far as to beat up his street team, but – well, just do what you think is right.