Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Demolition PT 2 ???
on 26 June 2007
With song titles like "Rip Off", "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.", and "Halloweenhead", fans may have pondered whether this was really an album from, Ryan Adams' internet-only alter ego, DJ Reggie. It is not the low-quality insanity found on his website, but it is not quite up to par with his most recent albums, either. Like his post Gold release of various tracks from unreleased albums, Demolition, Adams' latest feels a bit like leftovers. Thankfully, what gets leftover from a Ryan Adams album is typically more delicious than what makes it on most artists' albums.
Leaving the name of his stellar backing band, The Cardinals, off the album was no accident. They play on the album, but are deep in the background for (too) much of the album. This is not the sparse acoustic setting of Heartbreaker, but it is certainly not the lush soundscape of Cold Roses either. The album opens with one of the few where the band is front and center, with "Goodnight Rose"; sounding like a remnant of a session between the recording of Cold Roses and Jacksonville City Nights, borrowing riffs from the former and the country-fried stomp of the latter.
Whether Adams culled all songs from unreleased albums and discarded b-sides or not, it certainly sounds that way; as it is easy to look at each of these tracks as refugees displaced from nearly all of his previously released or easily-found internet bootleg albums. Even Adams' alt-rock experiment Rock N Roll has a sonic cousin here, in the form of the ludicrous-at-first-listen "Halloweenhead". As on the 2003 album, the uninspired lyrics, "Head full of tricks and treats / Places where junkies meet / And it leads me thru these streets at night / That's alright, I just watch I don't go inside", feel secondary to the thrusting guitars and infectious hook. Adams only adds to the goofy tone of it by calling out, "Guitar solo, just before ripping into one, but damn if it is not one hell of a fun listen. Good luck getting the, "I've got a bad idea again / I've got a halloweenhead", hook out of your skull.
The album features two songs from sessions Adams recorded for the Cameron Crowe film Elizabethtown, "Two" and "Everybody Knows". Each sound so damn good, listeners must wonder whether it was Crowe who passed on the material or if they were just too delicious for Adams to fork over for a soundtrack. Piano and acoustic guitar master-blend "Two" features one of the most gorgeous melodies Adams has ever written, and Sheryl Crow lending backing vocals to boot on the fantastic, "I'm fractured from the fall / And I want to go home / it takes two when it used to take one", hook. Although the guitar riff feels discarded from Cold Roses, "Everybody Knows" is another killer acoustic tale of broken hearts from the 'sad bastard music' king. The lyrics, including the heart-wrenching hook, "Everything's changing, so how am I to know / How I'm going to hold on to you when I'm spinning out of control / You and I together, but only one of us in love / And everybody knows", is good enough to leave listeners praying for a leak of the full Elizabethtown sessions.
Adams aficionados will rejoice that at least some of the unreleased Suicide Handbook sees the light of store shelves in the form of "Off Broadway". The gentle acoustic tone of the original is replaced by a tense bass drum thump and acoustic fingerpicked shimmy, but the signature killer lyrics remain, "I miss your locket / And the things I kept inside / And I just can't stop it / It hasn't killed me yet, but give it time", delivered in by Adams in an aching falsetto. Lesser-known and similarly unreleased, The Destroyer Sessions gets some love here too, with a sped-up and re-written "These Girls"; originally titled "Hey There Mrs. Lovely". The love struck glee of the original remains in the lyrics, "Well girl sometimes I feel just like a boy / Put here on this earth for you to toy around with / Like Matchbox cars you buy and burn in your backyard / Like monsters underneath your bed you ain't afraid of yet".
The more piano heavy tracks, like the eerie voiced "The Sun Also Sets", sound displaced from his most recent effort, 29. The herky-jerky thrust of the piano feels borrowed, but the great hook makes it work regardless. The Cardinals hazily play in the backdrop of "Rip Off", blending glistening guitar with the piano for stellar results, as Adams reflects on honesty. The rest of the album feels equally yanked from different times in Adams' career, with the winding lap steel and country waltz sway of "Tears Of Gold" and easy-going front porch diversion "Pearls On A String" recalling Jacksonville City Nights. Adams closes the album by returning to the acoustic guitar and harmonica roots of Heartbreaker on "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old".
Easy Tiger sounds a bit like Demolition Part 2; like the original, there is quite a bit of great material here, but it never really pulls together as an album. Only missing a brooding cut to bleed into Love Is Hell, the album is a solid smattering of tracks that would fit well on different previous albums. Still, it plays like the 'greatest hits you have not heard' from Adams, which is never a bad thing.