On Tuesday, Adam Ant released his first album in 17 years – a collection of songs that are largely autobiographical in nature, with several nods to places and people he’s encountered along the road to pop stardom. After cutting his teeth at some of the UK’s toughest punk clubs, Adam’s first gigs gave way to a striking Top of the Pops appearance and the kind of fame that produced eight Top 40 singles in one week. He has been an inspiration to top fashion designers, voted the Sexiest Man Alive by MTV viewers, and still maintains a strong worldwide fan base.
With 17 tracks (one for each year away?), the new album presents like a disjointed diary. Listeners can eavesdrop on any given moment of Adam Ant’s strange days: his tragedies, fantasies, and comedies are all here.
The new material is quite different from the signature double rhythms and war-cries that Adam’s early Antmusic made famous. But make no mistake – he’s still pouty, provocative, and unpredictable.
The album’s first single, “Cool Zombie,” is a fond account of the years he spent in Tennessee as a small town’s resident rocker raising his daughter. It also recalls the eyes behind many of his early publicity shots and album covers — and a sharp contrast to the energetic, passionate live performer we recently witnessed at Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival just four months ago.
On the next track, each note of “Stay in the Game” floats out from an opiate haze as The Doors play shoegaze in the next room. Disguised as a simple melody, it could also be a profound declaration of the daily tightrope that must be walked by someone living with a mental illness. Other must-listens include the glam tribute, “Vince Taylor,” the driving electro-anthem, “Shrink,” and the infectious “Punkyoungirl.” Look for its lyrics to be hijacked by a middle-aged letch or music snob’s Twitter feed near you.
When Adam sings, “I bought you flowers to smooth things over…” and “a poor boy’s dreams are his only luxury,” revelations are laid bare. We know that he’s made some mistakes and broken a few hearts, but it sounds like the next chapter in the Book of Ant will feature a wiser warrior. The goody two shoes is dead, the cool zombie’s a mask, and we’re getting a glimpse of a stripped, honest soul. And that’s more punk rock than anything.
Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter will be released in a special vinyl version on February 4, 2013. Adam and his new band are currently working on a North American tour – watch for details at www.Adam-Ant.com and don’t miss him live!!!
Review by: Stephanie Roman