Reviews:: Ryan Adams Easy Tiger

You almost have to feel bad for Ryan Adams. Here’s a guy who writes songs as frequently as Paris Hilton has sex on camera and takes shit from almost everyone about his persona (case in point, Pitchfork saying he couldn’t masturbate anymore when he broke his arm and couldn't play guitar anymore). People usually forget about his great records and never shut up about his less than stellar efforts. Someone always has to bring up a story they heard about Ryan being a dick at a show, and follow it up with saying he peaked with the Whiskeytown records.

But, he keeps on writing and he’s come back with Easy Tiger. The most interesting thing about the reviews from this record is that people seem to like it, but never want to really admit it. For the record, I’m an unashamed Adams fan and enjoy most of his catalog, so I really wanted to take my time with this release and give it enough listens to let the songs grow. If I had to make a generalization, the fact that Adams created a disjointed collection of songs in so many styles actually helped him out. The record is a bouillabaisse of songs he wrote over the last 5 or 6 years and essentially any fan of his work can find something they like and hold onto.

Adams has recreated himself in more ways than Madonna (although unlike Madge his personas often fall on the other side of popular) and this record showcases a lot of them (the hint of Love is Hell sounds on The Sun Also Sets, the slow country meander of his earlier records). The Neil Young flair of Off Broadway or the AM radio feel of the Sheryl Crow ditty, Two, will hit home with two distinct audiences, but will certainly be met with approval. So will the picked banjo and harmonies of the Willie Nelson inspired Pearls on a String. He still includes songs that make you scratch your head and wonder if he enjoys the criticism he receives (Halloweenhead); I mean who else yells out guitar solo in the middle of a song?

The record isn’t seamless, but if it was, it wouldn’t be Ryan Adams. His scattered visions are always enjoyable and comfortably familiar and I think this record is one of the most enjoyable in a while. Just listen to the two plus minutes of Oh My God, Whatever, Etc. and try to disregard his songwriting ability.

Ryan is here playing the fantastical sounding Orpheum Theatre on July 28th.
MP3:: Two
MP3:: Alice (Japanese Release – via Rawkblog)

web site :: label :: more mp3s

UPDATE:: Winner of the Ryan Adams lithograph - Miranda Hafford

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