“Guitar solo!” exclaims Ryan Adams (jokingly?) half way through the third song on his eighth proper solo album, Easy Tiger. Entitled “Halloweenhead” the song could easily have been one of the throwaway tracks Adams released, for free, via his website earlier in the year. And while this is not necessarily a direct criticism, as some of the web tracks were actually quite good, it’s not high praise either. If anything it’s another declaration by Adams that he will, and does, release whatever he feels like, and in whatever format.

Much like 2002’s Demolition, Easy Tiger is a nice collection of songs, only Demolition was supposed to be a random smattering of unrelated songs. Taken as a whole Easy Tiger feels disjointed much in the same way late ‘70s Neil Young albums do, i.e. lacking stylistic continuity. Like Neil Young, here Adams has compiled an album of disparate material, some dating as far back as 1999, that stylistically feels, at times, all over the place.

I truly do love how random and eclectic Adams’ muse is, it’s part of the appeal. I love the joke songs, the country guy, the troubadour folkie, and most any other musical hat he has donned throughout his career. That being said, when releasing an album, I vastly prefer the many stylistic personas to be grouped together, e.g. Cold Roses had the Dead vibe, Jacksonville City Nights had the hard country/barfight vibe. But as I mentioned earlier, the guy is going to do whatever he wants, in whatever format, so we can choose to listen…or not. Easy Tiger drops tomorrow.

Elsewhere: Interesting NY Times interview with Ryan by Anthony Decurtis

Ryan Adams :: Everybody Knows
Amazon: Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals :: Live @ Studio X – WXRT FM Chicago (June 19, 2007)

MP3: Ryan Adams :: Introduction/(Interview – “The Bozo Show”, “Steven King”)
MP3: Ryan Adams :: Two
MP3: Ryan Adams :: (Interview – “Ryan Adams’ Career”, “Downloading”)
MP3: Ryan Adams :: I Taught Myself How to Grow Old
MP3: Ryan Adams :: (Interview – “New CD”, “Show Tonight”)
Get FLAC: The above MP3s are 64kbs – download the entire WXRT show in FLAC here.

www.ryan-adams.com ++ www.answeringbell.com ++ myspace.com/ryanadams ++ emusic

+ Download Ryan Adams through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 offer.
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Ryan Adams MP3s.

15 Responses to “Ryan Adams :: Easy Tiger”

  1. I agree that this one’s a bit patchy, but there are some definite growers on it – particularly the first three tracks: It’s nice to have an album you have to live with for awhile. More rewarding that way, isn’t it?

  2. I disagree with your analysis, though I appreciate that taste is a subjective matter. Your analysis in comparing Ryan’s releases to Neil Young (if that is to be the benchmark by which we are judging Ryan’s albums) is flawed since Neil often released thematically similar records in the late 70’s (American Stars and Bars and Comes a Time to name just two). Harvest, a classic album, is all over the place.

    I think that Easy Tiger holds together thematically since it seems to document the issues Ryan has apparently been dealing with recently, even though some songs date back aways (“These Girls” is a re-working of nightime girls, etc). I think that Ryan can’t win . If he puts out too many songs, people criticize him for not having an “editor.” When he is more deliberate in releasing his stuff, he is called calculating and boring. The guy truly “just can’t catch a break” as he laments in “Two.”

  3. Bob , always love to hear different opinions. I dont think Neil is a benchmark, per se, but more an allusion to my point. And while I am aware of Adams personal demons, etc., I dont think it should be necessary to know an artists bio to make an album hold together thematically.

    btw “These Girls” is a re-working of “Hey There Mrs Lovely”

  4. Everyone is always referring to Cold Roses as the “Dead” album. I don’t see the connection. I’m a fan of the Dead (although for me their music hasn’t aged well) and I love Cold Roses. But honestly listening to it doesn’t at all remind me of any Grateful Dead music – in the least. Come to think of it, if it reminds me of any album its Harvest. What am I missing?

  5. So far I’ve seen nothing but blindingly positive reviews for this album, so it’s nice to hear an honest and opinionated review that I can trust.

    (not that it really matters, because I would have bought it anyway!)

  6. steve, when cold roses came out i definitly heard the GD vibe, but did not hear the “American Beauty” reference that was so thrown around at the time

    When I say “Dead vibe” I am referring to the the guitar tones and style of runs, heard (mostly) in GD live output, that appear throughout CR.

  7. yeah the guitar tones are straight Jerry

    This album is growing on me against my better judgement

  8. Like in “Easy Plateau” off of ‘Roses, you can’t tell me there’s not a hint of Dead in there. Not to mention the American Beauty tribute of the cover artwork! I personally can’t wait for the new album, though I must admit I still have one or two albums of Ryan’s catalog I still need to pick up (Jacksonville and…sad to admit from what I’ve heard of it, Heartbreaker…skipping Rock & Roll)

  9. I appreciate your take. I’ll be interested to hear it when I buy it. I was afraid after the last two releases he might get a little disjointed on this release. However, it sounds like it is still a good album with a lot of good songs.

  10. I’m trying to decide whether I buy his albums now or later. I know, with this musician, i’ll eventually buy into his large discography. I’m empressed with every turn he takes.

  11. Nik….you’re missing the best two albums. Hurry to the store!

  12. This album kept being built up to be “his best work to date” and with that in mind it proved to be nothing but a major let down. Disappointment barely describes my feelings about it so far.

    There are a few great tracks (Two, Everybody Knows, Pearls On A String, etc) but stuff like “Halloweenhead” and “Rip Off” destroyed any chance of it being a solid, consistent and serious album…which is what I expected after he took two years off and has apparently been sober for over a year. I’d much rather have the 3 albums he did in 2005 every year than an Easy Tiger every other.

    I still love the man though, even if he includes the middle school joke time of 4:20 on the cover.

  13. i really disagree with your comment that the album is all over the place. Halloweenhead sounds like Heart…..but other than that it’s all fairly similar — demolition is definitely all over the map, but i think this one feels cohesive

  14. I have very little objectivity where Mr. Adams is concerned – I love just about everything the guy has put out. I was never a big Dead fan going back to the sixties forward… respected them, but never was on the band-wagon… anyway, I finally had a chance to see RA a couple weeks back and I recall thinking ‘I see Dead guitars’… I’ve since downloaded a lot of the shows out there and caught the same vibe… I think the tonality, as well as the tight but loose intertwining of the two guitarists are what I’m perceiving as ‘Dead-ishness’… I must say that at times I also felt a little bit of the Allmans in there, and even a dash of Fripp/Belew interlock at times… good listening, whatever it was they were channeling. It didn’t feel derivative though.

    I’m prepared to listen to Cold Roses with fresh ears, but up to this point in time I’ve just had a ‘Ryan Adams’ vibe when I listen to it… but again, there’s so much Dead that I’ve never been exposed to – the fact that I’m not hearing it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

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