Prisoner

Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track of Ryan Adams' Prisoner album in which he reflects on the end of his marriage to Mandy Moore. Speaking to NME, Adams said he felt no inhibitions in writing about his very public divorce from the actress.

    "I think the theme of this record is that we're all prisoners of some desires, in that the very things we love are the things that hold us hostage and keep us trapped," he said. "Either we are the cage or we're in the cage and it's trying to figure out in every situation which of those things is real."

    "For me, the big shadow illuminating things for fans will be that this record is directly related to my divorce…I think that's what fans will read into it and to the things that happened and what was going on inside me. How I endured it and where I was in my emotions at that time – and they wouldn't be wrong. I didn't want to make a mistake and avoid it…I believe in art, and it sounds so stupid – but I think it's more stupid to pretend that things aren't happening to you and write some bland f---ing useless bulls—t," Adams continued. "I don't wanna be that. I don't wanna write music for people on f---ing boats y'know, that's not who I am."

    "So I chose to honestly say: I'm going through this. I chose to extract and evaluate and find out what part of this pain and seduction and mistrust are worthy of being extracted and then re-romanticize it in some way," he added. "Because ultimately, however bad a situation is for people, especially if it's a condition of love or some internal dialogue, I think most people would agree that when you look back on it, those times are well remembered. I think in a lot of ways that's what every John Hughes movie is about… it's saying you know when you were in that situation and you were totally confused about life…wasn't that awesome?"
  • Asked by HMV.com when he settled on the album title, Adams replied: "As I went along the process of discovering what this record would be, songs really came and went, but it became clear to me as time went on that Prisoner was really the centre of the record."

    "It's a song with a lot of sexuality in the subtext, which is there in the rest of the record too, it's explaining how desire is working me while I'm still coming out of becoming this emotional ruin. I kept going back to that song, I think it's very liberated, it's about being possessed by feeling and just enjoying being alive. I was discovering that being a human is freeing yourself from all these internal traps you set for yourself."

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