Ryan Adams is a freak. Every other week - it seems - there's a new Adams release, and each is different from the one before. This shows he is also getting good at making stylistic wardrobe changes, too. "Tears Of Gold" is pedal steel country, while "Pearls On A String" rolls bluegrass-y with its prominent banjo. He can be vocally gravelly and world weary one moment, then suddenly switch to a Rufus Wainwright-like falsetto as he does on "Two Hearts." Adams expresses his folk singer troubadour side with the acoustic guitar driven "These Girls" and also on "I Taught Myself How To Grow Old," which begins with mournful harmonica.
Adams is equally sharp lyrically. On "Two" he confesses, "My money's no good when I'm up to no good." Then during "These Girls" he admits, "These girls are better off in my head." If Adams could bottle up and sell his unique immunity to writer's block, he would likely make millions. Maybe he could even take a vacation. But perhaps all this momentum he's built up helps fuel creativity. Furthermore, rather than coming off burned out, Adams sounds like he's still having fun. He shouts "guitar solo!" at the appropriate moment in "Halloweenhead." Yep, he calls the shots and they follow.