I’ve been following Ryan Adams for over 13 years now, and while he’s had his ups and downs, I feel like he’s never had a bad release. There’s always something to love, either musically or lyrically, and that’s not an easy feat, since he has released pretty much an album every year. Prisoners is the follow-up to 1989, his Taylor Swift album. And it shows.
Especially musically, you can distinctly hear that he’s leaning toward the more rock side of things, and he seems to have gathered a band which enables him to do so. And while it had to grow on me, since I idolise his more introverted, classic songs, I think this is the best album he’s released in a long time. It sounds warm, full, focused, something he’s been lacking for a while now.
Lyrically, this album deals with his divorce with artist Mandy Moore, and as Bob Dylan, Beck and so much others before him, it makes for a classic break-up album. And the best part is, it’s not that he’s wallowing in self-pity. It’s an album that is used as an outlet, a way to deal with things, like a comforting blanket, or a good talk with a close friend. And because it sounds like that, it’s comforting to the listener aswell, establishing that it’s ok to feel like shit, it’s ok to scream and shout, because things will get better. Although it might take a while.
My favourite song is Doomsday. It’s catchy, heartfelt, and Adams at his best.
If you were a fan before this album, you’ll undoubtedly stay one. If you’re new to his catalogue, this is actually a great way to start exploring what this great musician had made over the years. It’s no Heartbreaker, but well, what is, but I’m certain this album will stay in rotation for a long time.