Albums to watch


Ryan Adams


Album number sixteen from the rock / singer-songwriter and first of original material since 2014

ADM rating[?]


Virgin EMI / Blue Note
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   Consequence Of Sound

    A stunning scrapbook that captures heartbreak in an intimate array of snapshots
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  2. 9.1 |   A.V. Club

    He hasn’t just turned misery into art; he’s turned it into joy
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  3. 9.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Prisoner isn’t a heartbreak record - it’s potentially the heartbreak record
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  4. 8.5 |   Spectrum Culture

    Offers a note-perfect salve to those broken hearts facing yet another lonely night in the dead of winter
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  5. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Prisoner is an album filled with Adams reconciling his doubts and fears about life and love with his faith in music and the power of song. And ultimately – thankfully – music wins out over heartbreak in the end
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  6. 8.0 |   The Observer

    Affecting songs of love and loss
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  7. 8.0 |   The Guardian

    Adams is not breaking new ground with Prisoner, but it seems churlish to quibble when he’s at the peak of his powers
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  8. 8.0 |   The Irish Times

    Mostly, it’s Adams’s eminently listenable voice and his succinct way with words that make this album work – particularly in its quieter moments
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  9. 8.0 |   All Music

    It's not a record that wallows in hurt, it's an album that functions as balm for bad times
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  10. 8.0 |   American Songwriter

    Prisoner is kind of like what Blood On The Tracks would have been if every song took its cue from “If You See Her, Say Hello.” Still great, but a bit one-note
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  11. 8.0 |   Clash

    Instrumentally the album shares much in common with ‘1989’, from the sweet Smithsian jangle of the title track to the nostalgic Americana of ‘Outbound Train’
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  12. 8.0 |   NME

    Isn’t quite up to the career-best standards of its predecessors, but it’s a remarkably focused and effective successor nonetheless
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  13. 8.0 |   PopMatters

    Adams puts heartbreak and loss on display with a gorgeous, deep-winter "divorce album"
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  14. 8.0 |   music OMH

    An album that must have been tough for Adams to write and record, but ends up sounding like one of the great break-up albums of recent times
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  15. 8.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Prisoner is an enveloping, painfully raw breakup album and an intense portrait of one guy's troubled headspace
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  16. 8.0 |   Uncut

    A more sombre, focused affair. Print edition only

  17. 8.0 |   Q

    It's a testament to the quality here that he sounds so thoroughly broken this time. Print edition only

  18. 7.5 |   Gig Soup

    There’s a catharsis to ‘Prisoner’ that makes its occasional elements of one-notedness understandable, and at its best, this is an album that bleeds wistfulness and resignation
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  19. 7.5 |   The 405

    Prisoner isn’t an easy listen and it’ll provide all kinds of feels but after listening to it you’ll be glad you let Ryan Adams’ tale of anguish into your life
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  20. 7.3 |   Paste Magazine

    Prisoner sometimes feels as though Adams got wrapped up in the musical dynamics at the expense of letting the emotional content stand on its own. As his extensive catalog shows, he’s at his best when he strikes a balance between them
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  21. 7.0 |   Beardfood

    Never obviously weak and sounding perfect, but the hooks are missing barbs
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  22. 7.0 |   Rolling Stone

    When the songwriting feels as personal and urgent as the scholarship (see the raw-bone heartland-rocker "Doomsday"), he gets close to the magnum opus of his dreams
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  23. 7.0 |   Exclaim

    Adams has never sounded as self-assured as he does on Prisoner
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  24. 7.0 |   The Music

    Tidy, yet safe
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  25. 7.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    Adams’ voice is still the central vacuum to his records and he still has an infectious pull with melodies
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  26. 6.2 |   Pitchfork

    Ryan Adams’ new album is being positioned as one of his classic breakup records. In terms of its sound, at least, it's a winner
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  27. 6.0 |   Mojo

    Tethered by sturdy, familiar images of tightropes and trains. Print edition only

  28. 6.0 |   NOW

    When Adams finds a fire in himself, as on arena-ready opener Do You Still Love Me? or the howling, mid-80s Springsteenesque Outbound Train, he sounds genuinely inspired
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  29. 6.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Adams wrote nearly 80 songs, not surprising for a man who claimed that songs pour out of him at the rate of four or five a day
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  30. 6.0 |   The FT

    The album is a love letter to the artist’s musical obsessions, especially the kind of rock Springsteen played
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  31. 6.0 |   Evening Standard

    As ever with Adams, there’s filler - but when it’s good (Shiver & Shake!) it’s as effective as anything he’s done
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  32. 6.0 |   The Independent

    Sticks to the well-trodden highways
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  33. 6.0 |   State

    It’s a record that very much details a specific part of Adams’ life and that’s just how it feels, as a snapshot of an emotionally delicacy it’s perfect. As a record it could do with a little more contrast
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  34. 5.8 |   Pretty Much Amazing

    Even if he’s not on solid emotional footing (when has he ever been?), Prisoner finds Adams making new music in a steady, workmanlike manner befitting his status as one of the younger guardians of traditional “rock” music
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  35. 4.0 |   Earbuddy

    An album of tired, mid-tempo, mid-volume exercises
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Ryan Adams: Prisoner

  • Download full album for just £9.49
  • 1. Do You Still Love Me? £0.99
  • 2. Prisoner £0.99
  • 3. Doomsday £0.99
  • 4. Haunted House £0.99
  • 5. Shiver And Shake £0.99
  • 6. To Be Without You £0.99
  • 7. Anything I Say To You Now £0.99
  • 8. Breakdown £0.99
  • 9. Outbound Train £0.99
  • 10. Broken Anyway £0.99
  • 11. Tightrope £0.99
  • 12. We Disappear £0.99
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