Ryan Adams has covered Taylor Swift’s album, 1989 in full. Yes - you heard me right. Ryan Adams made some wonderful, soulful alt. country with his band Whiskeytown and as a solo artist. This is seems to be a bit of an odd one though - can he turn the music of a country pop princess into alt. country gold? Probably.
LP £20.99 88875164501
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It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: we’re stocking a Springsteenified version of that Taylor Swift album we didn’t stock in the first place, by supposedly-authentic folk man Ryan Adams, who right now is proving himself to be the Nice Guy (but equally annoying) equivalent of Josh Tillman. Everything you may have liked about Swift’s ‘1989’ -- which, for this particular listener, was a whole lot -- is crossed out by the gratingly plaintive sad boy strums of Adams, which are occasionally amped up for your rawk factor. Of course, it’s not even worth laying into this record, because in so doing I’m essentially covering the negative coverage it’s already received. Fuck.
I understand that there is a big divide in who does and doesn’t like Taylor Swift, at least on the internet -- but I think we’re all on the same page about Ryan Adams right now. Here, he ruins “Blank Space” with nimble strums instead of expansive, defiant radio rock, while he trips over the repeated mantra central to the chorus of “Welcome To New York”. Adams has given himself the biggest mountain he could probably give himself to climb with his ascension to musical clickbait, since he could have very easily retreated Swift’s old country rock stylings (and even perhaps some of the more downbeat moments on ‘Red’) -- it’s 2015, though, so the only thing that matters is The 2015 Thing.
As an aside, Phil’s main gripe with Ryan Adams is that he isn’t quite Bryan Adams. Mine is that, regardless of what he’s trying to do (prove the integrity of his music over the mainstream? Monetize? I’m scrawling a bit “IDK” over this one), I truly don’t want to hear a ramblin’ man’s take on a shining pop album. I’d say save it for the house parties, but no one’s really interested in you pulling out your guitar.
9/10 Dan Tanswell Customer review, 28th December 2015
Most thought Mr Adams was off his rocker for even suggesting such a vehicle but I for one am glad he did. I don't rate Taylor Swift's saccharine-like pop but in the hands of RA (Ryan Adams) it is certainly hits the spot. The LP may, at first seem like the acceptable face of being able to listen to Taylor Swift for the Indie generation but after one has gotten over this the real quality of the album shines through. It seems that Ms Swift isn't actualy that bad a writer and Adams has made her then an Indie heroine. Adams reinvents Swift's jolly opus with all the sensibilities of early Lee Hazelwood backed by the Smiths. It is a sad, meandering yet beauteous slab of greatness. 'Shake it off' is melancholic but uplifting, 'Bad Blood' is lighters in the air anthemic and 'Blank Space' is acoustic-led string-loveliness. RA and backing band makes for a good cover band. Let's hope that that rumour that RA covering the first Strokes album is actually true because that would be an audible treat also.
At last I have something musically in common with my 5 year old daughter!
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- 1989 by Ryan Adams
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