Ashes and Fire isn’t going to be Mr. Adams’ best work. But it’s him, right now.

Those were my thoughts before hearing this and they’re my thoughts after hearing it twenty times or more.

Mandy Moore’s better half has enough time punched as both genius songwriter and sort-of-celebrity to finally make an album that’s all his. It comes across as immediate and relatively simple, but that’s nothing new for Ryan. What’s new is how believable it can be, and how it’s coming straight from the musician and not the musician’s imagination.

The album is boldly soft and sweet. For an artist whose previous efforts have been erratically heart-wrenching and cool, this record comes across as something he just wanted to share – rather than just another sound he wanted to achieve and add to his catalogue.

His best or not, Ashes and Fire is as beautiful as the rest.