Ryan Adams might seem like an unlikely candidate to reinterpret Taylor Swift’s 1989, her most pop record to date. Ryan is known for a stripped down, alt country tone that, if ever, hasn’t existed in Taylor’s music for a while.
Those who listened to the solo “Demo” versions of some her 1989 songs might be a little more inclined to see why the pairing makes sense. When it comes down to it, Swift’s primary influences aren’t pop stars, they’re folk and country singers. A master of the hybrid between these two styles, Ryan distills Taylor down to her basest form. Adams’ version seems closer to the original than what was actually on the record.
The first released from the album was Ryan’s take on “Bad Blood,” a single Swift accompanied with a lavishly expensive action sequence flanked by her army of high profile female friends. In the single version, Taylor added a Kendrick Lamar rap verse. Adams dials all of that back into a simple rock song, making you realize that couplets like “bandaids don’t fix bullet holes, you say sorry jut for show” actually are kind of brilliant.
Though all of the tracks are available for purchase on iTunes, the entire Ryan 1989 cover album is currently up on YouTube for you to sample. Another Swift track that really benefits from the Adams treatment is “Out of the Woods.”
Looking at it now
It all seems so simple
We were lying on your couch
You took a Polaroid of us
Then discovered (then discovered)
The rest of the world was black and white
But we were in screaming color
And I remember thinking…
Taylor herself is ecstatic that Ryan decided to take on the project. A longtime fan of his work, Swift posted that the whole experience had been “surreal.”
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 17, 2015
Taylor’s enthusiasm was also apparent today as the countdown neared for the cover album to be released. She posted and retweeted dozens of early fan reactions as well as her own anticipated wait.
Soooooon… #ryanadams1989 pic.twitter.com/6p0cWe6qUV — Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 20, 2015
Soooooon… #ryanadams1989 pic.twitter.com/6p0cWe6qUV
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 20, 2015
3 hours 38 minutes. pic.twitter.com/JEh1rriSVU — Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) September 21, 2015
[Image via Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift’s 1989]