When singer-songwriter Ryan Adams released the announcement that he would be covering Taylor Swift’s first pop album, 1989, which was released in October of 2014, even Taylor herself couldn’t contain her emotions, posting all over social media in excitement. Now, with the album released to the public, Taylor’s excitement is proven warranted, in some cases. The album is most definitely a refreshing indie-rock twist on the Taylor we all know and love, though it stumbled short of her catchy tunes.
The album cover is very similar to that of Taylor Swift, showing a scene of birds over the ocean, much like the scene depicted on her shirt on her own album cover. The instrumental work in the album is more acoustic and soft, with the occasional rougher song, and overall much edgier than the pop sound of Taylor’s version.
Especially different is his cover of “Style,” which has a vintage quality that makes it charming. He also does a very skilled cover of Taylor’s “Shake it Off,” arguably her most famous song from the album, a song which would be very difficult to cover well. A personal favorite is “How You Get the Girl,” which Ryan covers acoustically, created an incredibly sad undertone, giving the song a completely new tone than the extremely up beat track on the original album.
Some fans of Taylor’s sound might find this album to fall very short because of how strikingly different the two works are. For example, his cover of “This Love,” lacks the warm feeling Taylor’s song gives listeners. Also, some songs seem to blend together, a mixture of soft guitar and low vocals that can make a few sound very similar. It takes an open mind to appreciate the differences between the two albums, but both contain their own charm.
Many artists tremble merely thinking about covering, Taylor Swift, but Ryan Adams can be commended on simply completing the task. He takes that even further in covering her whole album, and doing so with a unique charm. His cover has underlying tones that make the lyrics of Taylor’s songs to seem even more potent. It takes a distinct taste for his sound, but his version of 1989 was a success, and truly a very good listen.
By: Holly Zoeller