Ryan Adams made what was, to my ears, his best record ever with 2014’s self-titled effort. More diverse and consistent than Heartbreaker and less bloated than Gold, Love Is Hell, and Cold Roses, Ryan Adams was a tight, taut, and tense collection of songs that saw Adams dealing with the loss of his grandmother and the pressures of a troubled marriage. Two and a half years later, the once-prolific Adams returns with the proper follow-up to his self-titled record, and it’s the closest he’s ever come to making a sequel. Prisoner carries many of the sonic and lyrical hallmarks of its predecessor, from the reverb-heavy production to the clear influence of 1980s Springsteen and Petty records. “Do You Still Love Me,” the opener and lead single, even bears a strong resemblance to the last record’s first track, “Gimme Something Good.”
Singer-songwriter Ryan Adams knows there’s a stark difference between the way he views the work throughout his career and the popular perception of it. Whether it’s his years in Whiskeytown or his song New York, New York becoming a rallying cry after 9-11, Ryan tells Marc why history has created a different narrative of these events than what he experienced at the time and how that guides what he’s doing today.
By the time I got there, I was so angry. I felt humiliated, but what else could be done? Either way I had lost something. Unlike a more seasoned comic or musician, I didn’t have the experience to ignore a situation like this, or to use wit to turn it around. I felt a kind of disappointment and disillusionment that I had never known — and it was in front of a thousand-plus people.
Ryan Adams has announced a new limited edition box set for his upcoming album, Prisoner. It’ll come with all of the songs on the new album getting their own 7″ record and 17 unreleased b-sides. The set also comes with a play set of Adams’s stage setup and action figures. Pre-orders will go up tomorrow at noon.
This fall, the singer-songwriter, 41, will return with his 16th studio album, he tells EW, and he had an embarrassment of material to choose from. So how many songs did he have written? “Quite literally 80,” he says. “Probably more!”
He’s distilled those down into a dozen or so tracks for the LP, due out Nov. 4, and he credits legendary producer Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt) for some much-needed studio guidance. “I didn’t know if I knew what I was doing,” he says. “So when you’re in a situation like that, you gotta get Gandalf—you gotta call Don Was!”