Album Review: Ryan Adams – Prisoner

Ryan Adams’ first album of original music in 3 years sees him back to his best, says

PHOTO: Album artwork

Rating:  ★★★★☆

As famous as Ryan Adams is for writing a staple break up record fuelled by his own experiences, it was a wonder why there was radio silence on the heartbreak front following his divorce from actress Mandy Moore.  But good things take time, and Prisoner has been dubbed one of the highlights of his career by critics, going on to chart at #3 on the UK album chart.

Ryan Adams has crafted an exquisitely well packaged selection of easy melodies.  From the stadium rock-esque opener ‘Do You Still Love Me?’, a wink at the genre he so loves, to the vibrant and softly upbeat ‘Doomsday’, to the shadowy and grief-stricken ‘Shiver and Shake’, and closing the album with ‘We Disappear’, tinged with the Americana genre, reminiscent of Don McLean – if he had a love child with The Smiths – which adds a unique ending to the album as it tails off into a stream of phaser-effected guitar.

Essentially, Prisoner is a potent blend of raw emotion, which is often buried deep within – although it borders on desperation at times and signals something darker than normal heartache.  Lyrics penned such as; ‘If I wait here any longer then I’m gonna fade away’, ‘In my mind it’s all so strange’, and ‘Feel like I’m headed for a breakdown’ imply genuine feeling, and when the feeling is so heartfelt, the songs write themselves.

Prisoner is a staple which belongs in everyone’s record collection.  Whether or not you enjoy a fusion of good old fashioned rock with a lot of jangly guitar, you won’t be able to deny the effect that Prisoner has of being able to reach out to anyone who has gone through the same.


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