Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Download: Ryan Adams - "Goodnight Rose"
Download: Ryan Adams - "Two"
Stream the rest of Easy Tiger here
Easy Tiger (Lost Highway, 2007)
The best way to describe Ryan Adams, I feel, is to say that he is consistently inconsistent. For every Heartbreaker or Jacksonville City Nights you have a Rock N' Roll or Love is Hell (I'll let you figure out which examples are positive and which are negative). Adams' proficiency makes him both frustrating and fascinating.
However, with Easy Tiger , Adams creates one of his most consistently pleasing records, if not necessarily his best overall. While Tiger doesn't reach the emotional heights of "Come Pick Me Up" or "If I Am A Stranger," the album doesn't have any slow spots like the ones in 29 or Cold Roses. Part of this sharpened creative focus may or may not be due to Adams' newfound sobriety (at least, that's what every magazine profile of Adams prior to Tiger's release has stated - and to be honest, who am I to argue with Entertainment Weekly?).
That may or may not be true, but what is for certain is that Adams has fashioned Tiger into a career retrospective. He is channeling all of his musical sides into one album, all under the umbrella of hooky choruses, straightforward verses, tasteful instrumentation and somewhat clever lyrical devices (in "Halloweenhead," Adams claims his head is filled with tricks and treats). In other words, he's being consistently inconsistent on purpose.
"Goodnight Rose" is a laidback rocker in the style of "Magnolia Mountain" and "Peaceful Valley," "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc." recalls the quiet, acoustic desperation of Heartbreaker, and the aforementioned "Halloweenhead" would have been one of the better tracks on Rock N' Roll had it appeared on that album.
If Adams' last record, 29, was his way of saying goodbye to his 20s, then maybe Easy Tiger is his way of saying hello to his thirties. With his supposed newfound maturity, Adams has created a record that could serve as a stepping-stone to creating a masterpiece that rivals Heartbreaker, his solo pinnacle.