Album Of The Week: Ryan Adams’ Prisoner

RyanadamsprisonerSometimes the best art comes from pain and loneliness. It can be a fantastically brilliant antidote for whatever the artist is feeling. With his 16th studio album, Prisoner, due out on February 17, Ryan Adams examines misery and heartache. It’s intense and honest, and each song tells a story of emotional strain. The album proves how consistently stellar Adams’ solo career has been since he left the alt-country act Whiskeytown.

As with all of Adams’ albums, there’s a lot of variety in Prisoner. There’s an equal number of acoustic- and electric-based tracks. The electric ones have Adams’ guitar giving off a distinct echo with a chrome tone. The acoustic ones are rootsy and genuine while Adams shows off his incredible songwriting skills. Lyrically everything is on point, and that has always been his primary strength as a musician.

One thing that really stands out with Prisoner is that while Adams deals with his own misery with each song, it all has an upbeat tone. Did he do that on purpose while working on the album? Who knows? The contrast is definitely interesting to say the least. For anything else that’ll catch the senses, let’s take a look at my top tracks off of the Album Of The Week.

The triumphant and angst-filled lead single, “Do You Still Love Me?,” hits hard both in a lyrical and a sonic sense. Adams’ guitar riffs are gargantuan and consistent while the keys give off the tone of a church organ. “Haunted House” is about living with your own ghosts and it’s a rhythmic track that has profound harmonies. Another one where the guitar sounds pristine is “Shiver and Shake.” It’s a song about longing and missing someone, but it still has that upbeat tone.

Ryan Adams will be going on a little tour of the United States and Europe in support of Prisoner‘s release starting at the Apollo Theatre in New York City on February 16. He’ll also be doing a special performance at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn the day after the album’s release on the 18th. Unfortunately he won’t be coming through New England this time around, but let’s hope he does before the end of the year. Until he comes through your friendly neighborhood music venue, grab a copy of Prisoner. It’s warmth for the coldest of hearts.

Stream “Do You Still Love Me?” via Youtube:; Ryan Adams’ Website:

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