Album Review::Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

From the moment of the intro to opener Goodnight Rose on Ryan Adams’ newest Easy Tiger, it becomes apparent that the Dead have had a profound influence on Ryan Adams. Although the “psychedelic” segways abundantly present in the live shows only make a mild appearance on Easy Tiger, they are still all over the record. Followers will also have already have noted the way Ryan’s live sound has improved exponentially in the last few years. Easy Tiger reflects those high standards with regards to the overall sound of the record.

Although I am a fan of hyperbole, I’ll restrain myself. I won’t say this is a perfect record, but there are a lot of really great songs on here, some of which have been part of Ryan’s live set for a while. Even the rocker Halloween Head which includes Ryan announcing the guitar solo beforehand, might be camp, but it is damn good camp. Oh My God, Whatever, Etc… is a quieter song that includes some great phrasing on the chorus, which may only matched by some of phrasing on Goodnight Rose. The pedal steel winds up the down home Tears Of Gold which includes some real nice harmonies. The more suburban The Sun Also Sets, is a piano tune seeming to be part lament, part reflection. The shakers and acoustics come out for the solitary Off Broadway, with its resounding “I don’t know where it is anymore…” Ryan returns to the country again with Pearls On A String, which is adorned with a banjo, acoustic guitars, and some really good harmonies. Rip Off is a pop song where the piano comes out and we move once again back to the city and its derivatives. Two Hearts is a straight forward song that flows well, but really feels like it could have been left off, considering there are thirteen songs on the record. The acoustic strummer These Girls brings out classic Ryan feel on what has become one of my favorites on the record. I Taught Myself How To Grow closes the record with beauty and brilliance, and certainly instates itself as one of the best songs on the record.

I have to say that Heartbreaker is still Ryan’s best work. However, i’ve listened to Easy Tiger at least a dozen times and believe that it qualifies as his second best record. Cold Roses had been my previous number two, but Easy Tiger is loaded with more songs. In fact, if it weren’t for Two Hearts, which I consider substantially weaker than the other songs, Easy Tiger would give Heartbreaker a good run for the money. Either way, it is a really good album. If I had a star system, I’d give it four out of five!

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