REVIEW: Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger, Lost Highway

Posted July 30th, 2007 by Eric Greenwood · 1 Comment

If anything, Ryan Adams knows how to alienate everyone around him. He’s a petulant and defensive interviewee, a humorless spoiled brat on stage, and an indulgent virtuoso on record. It’s amazing anyone even pays attention to him anymore. I suppose his antics work to keep his name in print, but none of it helps his reputation as an artist. And in that regard, Adams is viewed these days as an unfocused dabbler at best.

His hands-down best record, Heartbreaker, came out seven years ago. And since then Adams has fallen apart at the seams, refusing to play the music business’ game. He does what he wants when he wants, fans and industry be damned. It’s a double-edged sword being so prolific because it clouds any semblance of greatness. Not everything Adams touches is gold by any means, but there are strokes of brilliance, if you’re willing to wade through the mess.

Turning 30 really freaked Adams out, and he responded with three records in one year. The guy has a lot to say, which is not to say all of it needs to be said. Publicly, at least. Spanning Cold Roses, Jacksonville City Nights, and 29 are some amazing songs to be sure, but Adams pursues his every musical whim, which slaps a bloated sense of importance on songs that wouldn’t even make the cut on a more discerning artist’s record. And it’s kept him at arms length from critics, fans, and even would-be fans.

On Easy Tiger Adams seems to be shrugging, as though he’s ready to pretend to play the game, however briefly. His compliance is just as reactionary as anything he does, only this time the result happens to be more commercially viable, but he over-corrects a bit. By making everything so formulaic and fluid, Adams almost sucks the life right out of the record. There is a happy medium between his extreme indulgences and a focused set of songs, but Easy Tiger errs on the side of trying to please too many

Tags: album-review

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  • 1 New Ryan Adams EP in late October, Drawer B // Sep 18, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    […] Cardinals, entitled Follow the Lights, which follows closely on the heels of his latest full-length Easy Tiger. Two new songs are interspersed with some older ones, all of which were recorded live in the studio […]