Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 269
Monday, Oct 08, 2012

“Memory Lane”
Ryan Adams


“♫ sometimes
when my memory
fails/ I look into
my book of spells/
cards we wrote
and pictures taken
by someone
[…] Memory

I’ve been taking in the magic of Ryan Adams Live After Deaf compilation. Listen to these intimate recordings echoes the hushed honesty of Cardinology’s rare bonus track “Memory Lane.” This UK bonus cut reminds me of Elliot Smith’s early recordings that he secretly taped away from his band-mates under the stairs. “Memory Lane” has that same feel, displaying Adams need to softly strip down the loud Cardinals sound; Ryan recorded this beauty of a song. “Memory Lane” is a snapshot of Ashes & Fire’s future evocative fragility, Adams was longing to rediscover. Adams described the lyrical intention of the Cardinology sessions when he said, “[…] what it meant to see it for the first time from a place of kindness, and as an adult, you know. But most of the record is about an unrequited love. A very heavy and beautiful one. But actually there’s a kind of majestic, fire to the record. There isn’t just suffering, and the doldrums of suffering which sometimes can be a repeated, like with Sartre and others. It could just go on and on. But this one, it’s different. I think there’s passion in it. It’s romantic.”

Ever wondered how Ryan pens majestic songs like “Memory Lane,” Adams gave an insight to his songwriting, when he explained, “I think of the person’s face, that I specifically wrote the song for, when I sing it. I think of them as if I was staring into their eyes, or I project myself back into the moment that I’m describing and be with the ghost of Christmas past, revisiting. Sometimes it’s less ego-based, which it needs to be. I don’t think I write from a mass standing point a lot of the time, even though the objective point in the song is romantic love but I don’t mind flipping the idea so that I’m not being gender specific, like in ‘Dear John’. But I mean, God forbid that men try to understand women. They just need to buy Vogue and read the fucking thing. In my opinion, I think that men are helpless in that kind of wonderful way, I think the best ones evolve without losing id or ego – we need it, we need the fractures. Being hunter or gatherer with a specific idea of not putting a woman on a pedestal so that she can fall and hurt herself but understanding that there should be one in your mind made of crystal and diamonds and unicorns. My lyrics really aren’t hypersexual, they’re hyper sensual, They’re always about belonging or needing as opposed to ‘I want you,’ or ‘You must come, I beckon you to my bed’ I’m talking about a need or a missing connection or the disillusion of loneliness through the immortality of the moment. I’m experiencing it as though it’s happening to me too, that’s when I feel that The Cardinal’s vibe is working. When it feels like I’m meditating, when it feels almost like alchemy.”

If you’ve been enjoying dissecting the acoustic live recordings from Live After Deaf, you need to discover that song that inspired Adams to disband The Cardinals and go solo. “Memory Lane” is one of the best recordings you must rediscover. Take the leap with the Cardinals sweetest swan song and embrace Ryan Adams’ lyrical snapshot; “Memory Lane” is the one song you’ve been missing.