Ryan Adams - Prisoner
Ryan Adams did something pretty stupid. He made a song for song remake of Taylor Swift's 1989, which in and of itself is not that big of a deal but when placed in the context of Adam's storied career it just did not make sense. It was forced, it was pandering and in a word it sucked. Yet, the faithful still knew that Adams could pull it around, because it is what He has done his entire career. On this album Prisoner Adams take another pass at a breakup record, and it is just splendid. Ryan Adams has never felt more comfortable, more himself than on this record. He even channels his inner Bruce Springsteen on many of the tracks, yet they have way more heart and are way more personal. "Shiver and Shake" can connect with anyone who has ever missed someone and felt like the emotional despair may just last forever. The Americana vibes are quite strong on this record with the acoustic guitar propelling most of the tracks. Ryan Adams is less of the angsty bordering on emo singer songwriter, instead He sounds confident sure of his emotions and his responses. Die hard fans have always been buzzing every time a new record comes out, yet the lead up to Prisoner felt different like something truly great might be coming, and they were right.
There are a few bumps in the road though. "Breakdown" with it's swirling almost Tame Impala-esque sound is just off, and sticks out on the album as a whole. Track by track there are also quite a few similarities and at times many of the songs can sound very similar. You will also hear quite a few of the stock phrases that Adams has used in many of his records. Yet the album has a completeness to it as well, where it really does seem like Adams accomplished all the goals He set up for this record. He expertly writes songs that on one hand feel personal, but on the other can connect with damn near anyone. "Tightrope" is one of those tracks that just keeps getting better and better each time you listen to it and when the sweet saxophone solo comes in it just takes it right over the top. While it seemed like Ryan Adams may have lost a step there for awhile Prisoner is his chance to clap right back. This is just a really nice album and a glimmer of hope for a genre that has taken more than it's fair share of hits recently. If you are in dire need of good bathroom mirror cry, throw this record on and watch the water works fall.
8.1 out of 10