Easy, Tiger

Ryan Adams' latest, Easy Tiger, has been out for a few weeks now. I downloaded it right the first day it was available, to decide whether to buy it or not. Yet I kept postponing writing this review.

Why? Might it be that *gasp*, I simply have nothing much to say?

In general, I've disagreed with the majority of critics about Ryan's albums. I actually liked the reviled Rock N roll and 29, even loved Love is Hell, especially pt.1. At the same time, I wasn't too enthusiastic about the critically well-received Jacksonville City Nights, which was too country for me, and Cold Roses, which I found pretty much a snooze. So when critics starting praising this album, lauding its consistency in particular, I was worried.

It is a consistent album, but why is that a good thing? Yes, true, there are no wtf-moments, no strange unpolished, out-there songs, but there's also no greatness here, and what's worse, there are no surprises. There's no innovation here, no stretching: it's all pleasant and harmonic, sure, but that's not why I like (or should I say liked? Already?) Ryan.

The only moment that half-way stands out is "Halloweenhead", and it should be said that the last two songs, "These Girls" and "I taught myself how to grow", are quite good. But this album stays a disappointment, maybe best illustrated by "The Sun Also Sets": it starts out interestingly, with a seemingly classic chord progression that doesn't go where you think it will, but the song then devolves into, well, "generic Adams", and who would have thought two, three years ago that there would ever even be such a thing?

Much has been made of Ryan Adams' recent sobering and cleaning up, and I feel almost guilty, complaining that the manic outbursts and unbearably quiet cries of despair are gone. Of course I'm happy he's gotten his shit together, but I won't be buying this CD.

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