Ryan Adams – Prisoner
Though there have been a few curious little outliers over the years, Ryan Adams has been one of the most prolific and consistently brilliant singer/songwriters of his generation. Prisoner bridges the gap between two of his most notable releases; his acclaimed debut Heartbreaker, and his self titled 2014 album. Written following his divorce, this is one of the finest break-up records going. Like his debut, the songwriting is poetic yet brutally honest, and at all times easy to connect to. His songs are a reflection of himself, older, wiser, but still passionate and carelessly caring. His well honed break-up songs have been well matched with the 80s arena rock style that he began to pursue with his eponymous release. It gives the album a greater scope, and the soundscapes it creates are just the icing on the cake.
The staccato bursts of ‘Do You Still Love Me?’ stands apart as the album’s heaviest offering and overall highlight. ‘To Be Without You’ is the kind of back to basics track that harks back to Neil Young, while ‘Outbound Train’ could be a long forgotten cut from Bruce Springsteen. ‘Shiver and Shake’ is one of the finest tracks Adams’ has penned in recent years, with such captivating lines as “I close my eyes, I see you with some guy, Laughing like you never even knew I was alive”. Prisoner doesn’t quite reach the same heights as the much loved Heartbreaker, but there’s no denying it’s one of the finest albums of his career. It’s affecting Americana is sure to be a favourite amongst fans for some time and will undoubtedly bring eager new listeners into the fold.