It's easy to overlook just how remarkable Ryan Adams' last few years have been. In today's society of "more, more, more," of mass-produced goods and wholesale outlets, we're a culture of excess, and the Adams' recent rate of output fits right in. Most artists don't release one album a year, let alone three like Adams did in 2005.
So, it may have been a little late by his recent standards, but Easy Tiger, his latest, was well worth the "wait." The songs are well crafted, diverse, and across the board great. Adams once proclaimed himself the world's greatest songwriter, and he may not solely hold the title, but he's not far off, either.
Kicking off with the touching ballad "Goodnight Rose," the disc covers all musical territory. Adams' displays his tender side on tracks like "Two" and "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc." The beauty of Adams is that his voice is capable of belting out desperate, angry vocals when called for. But on a song like "Oh My God," with delicate piano, acoustic guitar, and banjo, he takes on a nearly frail tone that makes the song work.
Then there's the track, "Tears of Gold." Completely different than the rest of the disc, yet not out of place, he goes back to his more alt-country side. Perhaps more fit for '05's Jacksonville City Nights, Jon Graboff adds great pedal steel.
Easy Tiger may be a little short on rock and roll, but "Halloweenhead" certainly will satisfy those looking for the edgier Ryan Adams.
The area the disc succeeds is on the semi-slow acoustic side – reminiscent of Cold Roses. "Everybody Knows" cruises along at a leisurely pace, augmented by great vocal harmonies. Lyrics like "I'm always in need and it's hard to be reciprocating" and "How am I going to hold on to you when I'm spinning out of control" should hit home for anyone who's ever been in a one-sided relationship with someone who's got issues to work out before committing.