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Top Ten Tracks 2000 – 2009: #3

March 15, 2010

3.  Learn to Love: Easy Plateau: Ryan Adams

I am officially declaring my love for Ryan Adams.

I was introduced to his music my junior year of college by my friend Aaron Peet.  I had originally written him off (both Adams & Aaron) – but only because I had poor taste in music.  Ryan Adams Gold was a gateway album for me.  It introduced me to what music could be, not cliche or easily accessible, but beautiful, raw, thoughtful, and slightly bewildering.  The first time I heard this song was at a concert at The Wiltern in L.A.  It was a piece Adams had apparently written after he had fallen off a stage and broken his hand – which led to some reflection, moderation, and this song which, in that moment, became my favorite Adams song of all time.  He said at the concert that he wasn’t sure if this song was “about God or girls.”  Maybe that’s why good rock-and-roll is good, because even the artist isn’t sure all that the song can and does mean.

But it is in this song that I found hints at a gospel my soul needed to hear.  I needed myself to be one whose fragility was “how broken it becomes.”  I needed God to be one who I could “speak to out on those city buses.”  I needed this to be a call to honesty – “when I don’t tell you how I’m feeling it’s because I’m still learnin’… but I will learn to love.”  So much life for me was lived believing I was unheard and so couldn’t speak the truth of my heart.  Learning to love, for me, was about learning to tell others how I’m feeling and to believe that trusted others could actually hear.

Here’s to learning to love.  Thanks Ryan.

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