Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams

“Halloween Head”? WTF? The song title makes even the most fervent Ryan Adams fans cringe when looking over his new album. The 4:20-set digital watch strapped to the singer/songwriter’s wrist only deepens fears that his ninth studio release is a set of self-indulgent, sophomoric blatherings about tokin’ up and drinkin’. (Granted, he pulled off those topics on his 2000 acclaimed solo debut, Heartbreaker.) Halloween Head is clearly a euphemism for something: Being high, having an … uh … erection, perhaps? Opening with an ominous bell toll, the cheeky, albeit rockin’ song is surprisingly good—interrupted by Adams yelling “guitar solo” before a synthed-out mini jam, and ending with the sound of a rainstorm and creep-out piano. By contrast the next track, “Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.” is a tingly mixtape-worthy acoustic ballad. The album’s single, “Two,” a duet with latter-day popster Sheryl Crow, is predictable, while “Everybody Knows,” with its heartwrenching refrain “you and I together / but only one of us in love” is ample proof of the songwriter’s lyrical craftsmanship. Add some country twang and The Cardinals’ masterful backing, and many of Easy Tiger’s 13 songs parallel 2005’s Cold Roses, which is arguably Adams at his finest.