Critics and fans set the bar preety high for Ryan Adams’s new LP Prisoner, having heard his singles in the last few months. At first, hailing it as a masterpiece of broken hearts seemed like an overstatement. Even though it doesn’t live up to the expectations on a full-scale, it’s a really strong album, a beautiful, emphatic consolation.
This is an album about broken heart, about healing, about hope, about learning from the experience of being hurt, and about trying to go forward, but not about forgeting. Adams has a great talent to write music that corresponds with such emotional involvments, struggles, and intimacy. He’s able to do it with intimacy, sincerity and simplicity that creates wonderful connection with listener. And this is the biggest advantage of Prisoner, the essence, the idea behind this project and measures, he used to create such work. It’s trustworthy and genuine.
For those, who didn’t have a chance to listen to Ryan Adams, musically it continues his previous work, resembling Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Neil Young, with that specific longing, heartland feel of alternative country’s and americana’s rock ballads. And this is probably the biggest downside of Prisoner, its lack of musical variety and stand-alone compositional masterpieces. Adams’s album is a full-lenght story, that works as a whole. It may cause an impression of repetitiveness, or even monotony. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great emotional project.
I won’t be surprised if someone name it alongside Blood on the Tracks or Rumours. Moreover, I won’t be surprised if someone think of it as contemporary version of those classic LPs. It has the potential for becoming a wonderful, very personal and intimate album for many, because of it’s ability to connect to listeners and their stories. And that’s the most important aspect of heartbreak albums, isn’t it?