The Black & White

Ryan Adams a ‘Prisoner’ to latest release

Artwork by Ryan Adams.

Artwork by Ryan Adams.

By Michael Gorman

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From the first chords of “Do You Still Love Me,” Ryan Adams confirms that his latest album, “Prisoner,” is wrought with emotion, following his recent separation from actress Mandy Moore. Each track evokes the rawness of his recent breakup, and listeners can expect typical, low-key Adams, drenched with heavy emotion.

On the title track, Adams sings about how deeply the divorce has affected him: “I am a prisoner / For your love.” The smooth guitar throughout the song helps create the depressed sound of his newfound loneliness.

The best song on the album is “Outbound Train,” a track about how Adams feels empty, as though he is fading away like an outbound train: “The fan stutters in the room / where we slept.” Driving drums and guitar help simulate the feeling of a moving train.

Adams closes the album with “We Disappear,” a morose ballad in which he uses wordplay to note how this arduous time “is like a bad commercial in the movie of my life.” He puts all of these feelings on full display throughout the album rather than keeping them to himself:
“Didn’t fit in my chest, so I wore it on my sleeve.”

Adams’ 16th studio album is not the rocker that his fans often appreciate, but it’s quintessential Adams, full of longing, honest lyrics and memorable guitar riffs.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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