Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ryan Adams :"Prisoner"

While I have liked his work it's his covers that have been a little more compelling, until this point for some reason the opener of his new album connects right away. It is a like more rock and balances out some punches with melody in a manner not unlike some of Tom Petty's more rockin moments from the late 70's -early 80's. There is classic rock styled guitar solo in the last minute. The opening guitar riff to the title track would not be out of place on a Smiths album, but when his vocals come in the twang I associate with his work comes in. The songs seem to all clock in around the three minute mark. The harmonica on "Doomsday" brings out the more country side though it still holds more of a roots rock sense. His vocal hooks are tasteful on his choruses and it feels like his song writing has now stepped up to rub shoulders with the artists like Bruce Springsteen and Mellancamp whose influence can still be felt. Lyrically these are songs of love and loss, grounded speculation painting intimate pictures what you see in these songs as dating in middle America. It might have to grow on me , but while he sings it with more urgency "Shiver and Shake" doesn't click as perfectly as the other songs before it. I think this is because the drums sit out. The pace picks up into more of a lazy stroll in the country for "To Be Without You". "Breakdown" becomes more compelling as it progresses an might be one of the album's best. "Outbound Train" has a similar simple strum to the other songs on the album. There is a hopeful sound to the chord progressions tat work well with the honest vocal lines. He is not winning any awards for his vocal range, but he knows how to work with what he has got and makes the most of it. The guitar to "Broken Anyway" is even more basic in front of a minimal arrangement and slowly builds to compliment his vocals. Lyrically this might be one of the most heart felt of all the songs, as he stays out of anger when singing about relationships that fall apart and instead offers some more introspective reflection. You can hear how working on the Taylor Swift cover album. "Tightrope" find his bi-polar lyrical tone swing back to his more romantic side. His voice has more rasp to it on this one when reaches up for higher notes. The sax solo brings out his more Springsteen side. The swing comes back the other side lyrically though the song is a little more upbeat on "We Disappear" . This is another very strong moment for the album. I'll round this one up to a 9.5 as I can hear how this album is going to be one of those that grows on me.

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