Country rock's most unpredictable and prolific artist returns with a career high.
Chris Long 2007
No-one could ever accuse Ryan Adams of being work shy. After all, Easy Tiger is the ninth album he’s released in seven years. However, the finger often pointed at him is about the consistency of those albums.
It’s a fair point to make. Unlike most artists, Adams seems to have no self-editing process, preferring instead to simply release everything he records, including some very odd fake hip-hop nonsense – though he did at least have the decency to give that away for free through his website. Rest assured, when he bites the bullet, there’ll be no Jeff Buckley or Tupac style post-mortem product to put out.
Thankfully, when that day does come, Easy Tiger will be hailed as one of his finer efforts. Once again, he’s backed by the Cardinals and deep in alt-country territory, and the album is one of rich beauties and poignant moments.
Its success comes from Ryan sticking to what he does best; produce stirringly tender songs that offer as much in expansive passion as they do in quiet introspection.
“Off Broadway” and “Oh My God, Whatever, Etc” both tug at your emotions as they meander along, “Rip Off” manages to mask a punching lyric with a lush melody, and “Two”, resplendent in its off-kilter chorus, understated harmonies - provided by Sheryl Crow - and tear-jerking lyrics, is his finest slow-burner to date. In short, expect your heart to break, your eyes to moisten and your mind to wander.
Of course, this being Adams, there are a couple of less pleasurable flashes, and it’s a toss-up between whether the awful Neil Young rip-off “Tears Of Gold” or the moment in “Halloweenhead” when he decides to add a B to his name and shout ‘Guitar solo!’ takes the crown.
But both are forgivable for the sheer beauty that surrounds them. Ever an unpredictable artist, Ryan Adams has upset the expectations once again with Easy Tiger by producing an album of genuine coherence and stability. Irregular service has been resumed.