Review: ‘Prisoner’

Review: Prisoner

Astrid Souto, Staff writer

Prolific singer-songwriter Ryan Adams released his 16th studio album on Feb. 17. Now recovering from his devastating divorce from American singer, songwriter and actress Mandy Moore, audiences anticipated “Prisoner” to replicate the same ‘80s heartbreak style Adams has portrayed for years.

However, with Adams having experienced heartbreak in its purest form, audiences also expected that he would bring the heat by translating his passion into his music. Listeners were slightly disappointed as, although Adams maintained his  brooding theme, it was just another middle-ground album with no real twist or artistic risk.

Although “Prisoner” lacks originality in comparison to the 15 other studio albums preceding it, Adams incorporates a quintessential despair that attracts a wide variety of romance advocates, as his raw emotional lyrics and soothing sound allow it to mold to almost any genre. Adams’ versatile nature compensates for his refusal to stray from the gloomy vibe most breakup albums depict.

Adams not only produced this album as a result of his heart wrenching divorce but also to represent his trapped emotions regarding it, almost as if he feels like a “prisoner” in jail. In the track “Doomsday,” Adams claims that “he could wait a thousand years” but follows it up with confusion over “how to let feelings go.” It seems contradicting, but the oscillation between desiring your ex and wanting to move on is quite normal after a breakup, especially when the relationship was long-term and intimate.

It would have been nice to see Adams take more of a risk and put more of a personal spin on some of the tracks. Listening to the album in one sitting felt like the songs kept fading into one another, each track repeating the same concepts from the one preceding it. And although that’s not necessarily a negative thing, listening to more than a couple songs at a time became sort of a snooze fest. Adams’ fans can expect another decent album, but from an outside perspective, it’s not a surprise that “Prisoner” receives a B.