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4.4 out of 5 stars
31
4.4 out of 5 stars
Easy Tiger
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 4 July 2007
Ryan Adams is nothing if not prolific. Nine studio albums in seven years is no mean feat.

Unfortunately, an almost natural by-product of this has tended to be a fair bit of filler being injected into at least four of the nine, turning what would otherwise be great into something that is 'just' very good. Thankfully, only one such track here - "Pearls On A String" - slips into this category.

The album title reflects Adams' slow-down and perhaps signifies a cleaner, sober artist whose creativity and talent can be fully realised. Similarly, "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old" reflects the more mature, stable feel to this collection. Both are positive steps towards the 'perfect' Ryan Adams album fans have been hankering after.
Previous releases have flitted between genres ranging from straight country to alt-country right through to straight rock 'n' roll. Here, styles seem to converge and we have a collection that is eclectic yet at the same time solid and mature.

A number of standout tracks ("Tears Of Gold", "Two", "The Sun Also Sets" and "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old") are achingly beautiful and feel well-balanced alongside bouncy indie anthems such as "Halloween Head". His voice is versatile enough to allow him to sound at home with both tear-jerking ballads and livelier tracks and sounds the best it has on any Adams release to date.

He is edging ever-closer to releasing something truly exceptional and this is as close as he has come to delivering on that promise made following his 2000 debut, Heartbreaker.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 July 2013
2007's 'Easy Tiger' is easily one of Ryan Adams' most commercially appealing and consistently enjoyable studio albums. As soon as I heard the dark, atmospheric and equally infectious track 'Halloween Head' on the radio all those years ago, with it's well written lyrics and catchy-as-hell hook, it only confirmed what I already knew, that Ryan was must surely be considered one of the saviours of modern music.

The whole album has something for every real fan to enjoy. There's the quality production, Ryan at his best vocally, and well-crafted, well-written, sometimes clever, often storytelling songs to capture every mood. It does lack some of the more 'poppy' and slightly upbeat tracks that are included on his past releases like the landmark 'Gold', but 'Easy Tiger' doesn't need them, the whole record has a good flow to it, and it isn't a struggle to listen to every song without skipping one.

'Halloween Head' was one of the first Ryan Adams songs to really speak to me and capture my mood at the time, therefore it will always be special to me, and remain my favourite tune on the album. Other classics include 'Two', with it's lyrics evidently covering bad past experiences, pain, and self-loathing, 'Goodnight Rose', which is a sweet, strongly influenced by country and western opener, and the slow 'Everybody Knows' is quite beautiful, I think that the latter is a song that just about everyone can relate to because we are all familiar with the emotions which are felt during one-sided relationships.

'Easy Tiger' is an album that soon become a firm favourite of myself after just a couple of repeated listens, but it's just what you'd expect from a man who I regard as one of the most consistently talented singer/songwriters of his generation - it's just a great music!
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on 8 November 2015
Great album
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on 13 June 2007
Apparently clean and sober, Ryan delivers his most coherent album since Gold. Not to say his other albums haven't had their moments. On the contrary, there have been stunning moments on all of his post-Gold albums, but this one just hangs together better as a whole.

Backed by The Cardinals again, there is a strong Neil Young vibe throughout the album. Which is, of course a splendid thing. Having apparently taken the last year off to take stock, and get sober, he has returned fitter, stronger, not trying so hard, therefore sounding more natural and comfortable with himself.

It's good to have this old trooper back (seems he's been around forever). The musical landscape has changed somewhat, with The Hold Steady, Cold War Kids and Wilco (still) flying the flag for 'Americana'. Let's hope the world hasn't grown weary of Ryan's stellar talents and moved on, impatiently waiting for the classic follow-up to Gold and Heartbreaker. God knows, on this form, and newly rejuvinated, we need him.

Welcome back sunshine!
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on 20 June 2007
Nine albums. Seven years. Not bad going at all is it? Some people would have you think that Ryan Adams' post Whiskeytown career is full of inconsistencies and that he's never quite hit the heights of his 2000 debut Heartbreaker. They'd be wrong. Oh so wrong. Rock N Roll aside (we'll pretend that one doesn't exist, Ryan's tongue was firmly in cheek there) the problem hasn't been down to inconsistency, its been down to having too much material, too many ideas and at times being a little self-indulgent. The question is, had he been focused enough this time around?

The initial signs were good. Having been a drug addict for the majority of his life, Easy Tiger is his first `clean' album. Kicking drugs and alcohol over a year ago Adams has thrown himself into the comfortable confines of backing band The Cardinals, and even though its Ryan Adams' name on the front cover its obviously a full band effort. The production is slick, the arrangements are short and concise and Adams' voice is at a career high. Most importantly though, Easy Tiger has everything that a Ryan Adams album should have. The lilting pedal steel infused country of Goodnight Rose, the rich harmonies of Tears Of Gold and the love lorn acoustic balladry of Oh My God, Whatever, Etc its all here, its all totally focused and delivered with a passion that makes Adams one of the most important and vital songwriters of his generation. One puzzling thing about the album is that it features a couple of songs that are at least six years old. As good as Off Broadway and These Girls are, I can't help but feel a little short changed. Both these songs are available elsewhere in Adams' vast collection of bootlegs which makes me wonder if there's actually any point in re-recording them? Especially when his live song cannon boasts such fantastic and, as yet, unrecorded songs that could have easily slid onto this record. It's a minor complaint though, old songs or not, they fit in with the flow of the record perfectly.

The constant shifts in style on the album keep you enthralled from start to finish. The rock `n roll stomp of Halloween Head really shouldn't work. On first listen the goof ball lyrics and cheesy chord changes make you question whether the song is actually taking the piss or not. It places Adams in 80's rock mode, but the soaring lyrics on display put pay to any doubts about the track and it turns out to be one of the finest rock songs he has ever written, regardless of the lyrical content. On a totally different tangent is Pearls On A String which sounds like a traditional country lament that could have been recorded in another era.

So with all the shifts in genre and mood, why does the album work so well? The answer is simply in its delivery. Live, these songs sprawl with improvised jams akin to The Grateful Dead but on record everything is slimmed down, no junk, no meandering, just clear and focused songwriting. As brilliant as Love Is Hell, Cold Roses or Jacksonville City Nights were they were also a little bloated, a little too long. What we have with Easy Tiger is an amalgamation of all his past work, repackaged and condensed into a perfectly formed and easy to swallow 38 minute mouthful. A career high? Easy Tiger.

Richard Thane

[...]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 February 2008
When Adams admitted in 2007 that he had endured "an extended period of substance abuse" that ended in 2006 including snorting a cocktail of heroin and cocaine, I must admit that I wasn't entirely surprised. I had been puzzled at Ryan's insistence at releasing no less than three studio albums in 2005, all of which were a little underwhelming and had diluted the quality of his music so much that I bought 'Easy Tiger' with a slight reluctance and only because it had received so much good press and positive reviews from critics and fans alike.

When I first put the CD into my player and pressed play, I heard 'Goodnight Rose' and had a sinking feeling. Yet another unremarkable Ryan Adams song which was good enough, but nothing near the heights reached by 'Heartbreaker' and 'Gold'. Listening on, however, I was delighted to discover that 'Easy Tiger' is, indeed, Ryan's best album since 2001's brilliant (if slightly bloated) 'Gold'. The drug & excess themed 'Two', the magnificent acoustic country/rock ballad 'Everybody Knows' and the weary, harmonica-driven coming of age song 'I Taught Myself How To Get Old' are excellent songs and easily the best three tracks on the album. Those, coupled with the catchy indie singalong 'Halloweenhead', the gentle country toe-tapper 'Two Hearts' and the bare bones vocal/guitar pairing of 'These Girls' make for an album full of more highs that Ryan has produced for a long time.

I am very glad I decided to take a gamble on 'Easy Tiger', despite Ryan's recent inconsitencies caused by the excesses of his lifestyle. The clean, focused but evidently still troubled Ryan sounds a hell of a lot better than the one reliant on drugs to function. Who'd have guessed?
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2007
After the barrage of 3 albums in 2005, Ryan Adams returns with his ninth studio album, Easy Tiger. The album is slick, with similar production to 2001's Gold; clocking in at just under 40 minutes, the emphasis here is clearly on quality rather than quantity.

In terms of sound, it's a mixed bag of his previous albums thrown together; 'Goodnight Rose' and 'Tears of Gold' wouldn't have been out of place on Jacksonville City Nights, the goofball 'Halloweenhead' could have been on RocknRoll, and 'Two' (featuring Sheryl Crow) sounds like something from Gold. He is backed again by the Cardinals, who have played an integral part in his career over the past two years; the result is a more focused Ryan, with some excellent playing from the other members of the band; three-part harmonies, pedal steel, banjo work on 'Pearls on a String', and a little teaser of harmonica on the final track. Ryan's voice is on top form too (particularly live, these songs are the best his voice has ever been).

This is an album that gets better in time; on first listen I felt that 'Two' was throw-away, but then had it stuck in my head for hours afterwards. My favourite tracks are 'Halloweenhead' with that keytar solo, the acoustic 'Oh My God, Whatever, Etc', and album closer 'I Taught Myself How to Grow Old'. For those who are new to Ryan, the album gives a pretty good idea of the variety in Ryan's songwriting, whereas many older fans will feel that it is a return to the Ryan of old, moving away from Grateful Dead influenced jams. Live, these songs are sprawling and psychedelic, but on the album they are stripped down to the minimum.

Easy Tiger is an album that shows one of the best singer-songwriters around at the peak of his game. The songs are touching, catchy and memorable. However, there are some old tracks here that have been rerecorded; 'Off Broadway' has been around for years, and 'These Girls' is 'Hey There, Mrs. Lovely' with rewritten lyrics. This lends the feeling that maybe Ryan's heart isn't entirely with the album (due to record label constraints etc). Another complaint is that the songs sometimes feel incomplete since they are good, but quite short; it leaves me wanting more. For that reason, this is a four rather than a five star album.
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on 27 June 2007
After listening with astonishment to the material released on his website this last two years, a proper album is a welcome treat. Appearing at times like a look back at where he has been and a portent of the future, Easy Tiger is as accessible as Gold and as poetic as Heartbreaker or Cold Roses. Halloween Head is catchy and rocking, the addition of Sheryl Crow into Two rises an already great song to another level, and I Taught Myself to Grow Old is one of the best things Ryan has ever recorded. The album doesn't feel like the contractual obligation many believed it to be and his vocals seem to be only getting better, fitting the passion and anger of the lyrics. This should tide me over until the proposed boxset of unreleased albums later this year.
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on 31 August 2007
In all honesty, i was slightly surprised by the critical praise heaped upon this album. I am a huge Ryan Adams fan and I thought 29 was great, if not a little slow and slightly repetitive. However, although this is not my favourite Ryan Adams album, it has at least three of the greatest tracks he has ever written (I Taught Myself To Grow, The Sun Also Sets & Halloweenhead)and definitely feels more focused and, for want of a better word, fresher than some of his previous albums. I would recommend this to someone who has never heard of Ryan Adams and is curious as it is perhaps more accesible than his last couple of albums, but still has those beautifully melanchonic songs that make it essential listening. 4 out of 5.
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on 13 October 2007
Every time a new Ryan Adams album comes out so do the cynical fine tooth combs looking for the obligatory gripes.'He's an egomaniac, a charlatan, lacks quality control, moulds too many different styles together without finding any overall cohesion or in the case of the brilliant 'Easy Tiger' Ryan Adams found himself charged by one critic with the heinous crime of making an album that sounded 'too Ryan Adams'. He can't win even though to some Easy Tiger could easily be seen as an attempt to address lingering criticisms that have unfairly tainted an impressive and prolific career.
With 'Easy Tiger' Ryan Adams has delivered a streamlined and clinical variety of his many different styles, executed with the polished flair of an artist maturing and reaching his peak. Ironically in giving critics what they have always cried for some critics have slammed 'Easy Tiger' for lacking the incoherent, sprawling splendour of works like 'Cold Roses' and 'Jacksonville City Nights' that they themselves criticised for being overlong and inconsistent. It just goes to show that some critics will always dislike Ryan adams but thats because to many he is too much like the talented kid at school who was that little bit too good at football. The kind of bloke who would take on nine players, round the keeper to score in the last minute of the Cup Final only to find shaking heads and mumbles that he should have passed.
With 'Easy Tiger' Ryan Adams has finally realised his strengths and is unafraid to play to them. In doing so he has created probably the most quintessentially Ryan Adams album to date and some of the finest songs of his career. From the perfect opener 'Goodnight Rose',the rifftastic 'Halloween Head'(fantastically enjoyable no matter what some stuffy critics may have said)to career highlights like 'The Sun Always Sets' 'Tears Of Gold' and 'Oh My God, Whatever etc' to the ideal album closer in 'I Taught Myself How To Grow Old' a georgeous lullaby that conjures images of Neil Young covering the Smiths 'Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want' though to accuse Adams of sheer imitation would be an injustice to a song that sees Ryan Adams voice reach new depths.
Ryan Adams may have his detractors but even they could not deny the breadth of talent at his disposal. In some ways Ryan Adams career reminds me of Gene Clark's solo career in that at the time his work was derided as overindulgent and bloated while now been rightly hailed as a legendary influence. In yesrs to come I have no doubt that future generations will give his vast array of talent the unbiased credit it deserves. Whether you wait that long yourself to hear one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time on the top of his game with the excellent Cardinals is up to you. Treat yourself to one of the albums of the year.
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