Here comes the brokenhearted alt-country crooner Ryan Adams again; the disciple of John Fogerty, the modern day Bob Dylan, with a mere sprinkle of Elton John’s flair and flamboyance.
Ryan Adams has been praised as “one of rock’s most talented songwriters” by SPIN. Through “Sylvia Plath” (from Gold album, 2001), he shows his highly prolific songwriting. This piano-driven, hauntingly beautiful yet charming and tender tribute to the great, grave-oriented poet, it truly makes you think as if between Adams and Plath, they knew each other quite well, especially their obsession with death.
I feel obliged to repost this comment on Song Meanings by JAM4321 about “Sylvia Plath”, which he puts it brilliantly: “Maybe this is too literal, but I always heard this song as Ryan Adams indulging in suicidal fantasies. Almost like Sylvia Plath represents giving in to mental illness and not fighting it anymore. Not living in reality, and instead going with ‘her’ to France or Spain and dancing in some imaginary mansion on a hill. I always took the ‘slip me a pill, and get me pretty loaded on gin and maybe she’d give me a bath’ as the act of suicide itself. As in, taking pills, drinking, and slipping away in a bath. Also, the lines about swimming reminds me of a part of The Bell Jar where she is at the beach and literally tries to drown herself while swimming. In the song, when he describes ‘while she was swimming away, she’d be winking at me telling me it would all be okay, out on the horizon and fading away’ as a ridiculously romanticised version of drowning. In both instances, the ‘death’ occurs in a sort of gentle, comforting manner. It seems kind of like a giant suicidal ideation, and ‘Sylvia Plath’ represents a dreamy end.”
Ryan Adams currently resides in Los Angeles with his five cats, typewriter, and coffee machine.