“DD Review: Ryan Adams – Prisoner.”

Score: 6.5/10


Hate. Hate is what is undeniable on this earth. I see, I hear it all the time. It’s this random Wilco roadie calling out Ryan Adams as the most full-of-himself individual imaginable, it’s me, the guy writing this view, doing things probably 10 times more hateful, every day. And then I’ll go back to my room at the end of the day and I’ll have a beer and I’ll think about it. Check that, I’ll find something new on this earth to viscerally trade places with, because existence is temporary, and subjective.
Now please allow me to juxtapose. You could probably never accuse Ryan Adams of being hateful. This, of course, is of debatable artistic efficacy, particularly seeing as you’d be hard pressed to find a more hate ful indiv. in history than Kurt Cobain. Ryan Adams uses words. But words use him, as well. Ryan Adams uses music. Opening track “Do You Still Love Me?” is sung all on the same note. It starts off overly grand, and pompous, every bit the full-of-himself Ryan Adams track we’ve come to know and hate, boiling down to something somewhat as powerful as the rare anthem a few of us have picked up on over the years such as “Answering Bell.” Is he more panicked here, in an artistically efficacious way? Yes. Is he vocally a little less of the spinny-cap-wearing school boy and a little more emulating Bruce Springsteen? Yes.
“Doomsday,” track three, is basically entirely unlistenable. But it’s buffered by two pretty quality days at the office — “Prisoner,” swathed in rich guitar and melancholy, and “Haunted House,” yes, another track straight off Nebraska, but probably not the worst track on Nebraska.
This all begs the question: who is really ROCKING OUT these days? Well, that last Ty Segall album went so unnoticed that it’s not really a fair question anyway. I guess the angry people. Is Ryan Adams still holding back a little? Without question. “Doomsday” stands no chance of making an album produced by Rob Cavallo. And yes, he’s my boy toy, for anyone wondering. No idea who produced this Adams album. Actually, it sounds like each song was produced at a different five star penthouse that Nicki Minaj just got done staying at. Ahem, haunted house. It’s sterile, but not as sterile as the new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Another thing missing is any element of jazz, and the fun that some bands have between tracks, like Pavement on Slanted & Enchanted and Brighten the Corners. Anyway, if you like My Morning Jacket, you should like U2, and if you like U2, you should like Coldplay, and if you like Coldplay, you should like Ryan Adams, and if you like Ryan Adams, you’ll get a solid 10 minutes on this album where you don’t want to bang your shin against a sprinkler, or something.

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