Una Mullally: Music’s #MeToo moment will be much more difficult to handle

Ryan Adams allegations raise questions about the level of awful behaviour in the sector

‘I am not surprised by the allegations against Ryan Adams.’ File photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg/The New York Times

‘I am not surprised by the allegations against Ryan Adams.’ File photograph: Elizabeth Weinberg/The New York Times

My approach to writing about music is to do it up close. This approach is not for everyone. Many critics – and there is no right or wrong to this – flourish in the distance. Detaching oneself can be very useful for maintaining impartiality and making sure the compass of one’s critical faculties is not left unmoved by proximity. I understand that. But it’s not my approach. Writing about music, which I began properly in print 20 years ago at the age of 15, has given me my career, and so no matter which paths I wander down, I am, first and foremost, a music journalist. That muscle will never unflex. It is my most honed one. 

I heard Ryan Adams’s first two records – Heartbreaker and Gold – when I was coming towards the end of my school years. They are brilliant albums. Come Pick Me Up was like the sequel Dylan never wrote to Buckley’s Lover, You Should’ve Come Over. Then, released just a few days after 9/11, Gold began with the rallying call: “Hell, I still love you New York!”

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