The Revolution of 1989: A Review of Ryan Adams’ Cover Album

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There is a mist of eeriness that passes through you as you listen to the dark vocals of Ryan Adams. That eeriness, however, is followed by a lavish wave of enlightenment. His music, rich in essence, alongside the words of lyrical genius, Taylor Swift, at hand, Adams has evolved 1989 from what it once was.


Being the huge Taylor Swift fan that I am, when I first discovered Ryan Adams was covering her latest album and releasing it on September 21, I lost my cool and my heart raced with momentum. Adams’ composition is similar to that of an indie artist and taking on a new perspective of
1989, he made it his own. Although the words remained the same with the exception of minor changes, his sound gave them a whole new meaning.

My favorite track that he covered, “This Love,” was sung with such ease and it’s his simplistic approach that gives his sound its authenticity. The way his voice shifts when he sings, “When you’re young, you run,” echoes with movement, vibrating into the depth of your core. Stripping down the energy and playful disposition that Swift carries with her sound, Adams leaves the music in its rawest form, further revealing the naked truth of his conceptions.

Music is subjective. Once it’s placed into the world, it is no longer just the artists’ but it is also the listeners’. The significance of a lyrical verse varies from person to person and what is taken from it is subject to the context of one’s current situation. With that, Ryan Adams told his story though Swift’s words, allowing his melodies to speak for him. And so, “How You Get the Girl” became a ballad and “Shake it Off” was showered with melancholy.
Taylor Swift’s album and Ryan Adams’ covers are both tasteful in different lights, making it nearly impossible to hold the two in competition against one another. Instead, both are created with contrasting energies and unfold different narratives. And yet, they carry the ability to complement each other. Perhaps it was the amount of love and support the two artists have for one another that translated through music. Either way, if you have yet to listen to the cover album, I highly suggest you do it now and I can promise you won’t regret that decision!

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Photograph courtesy of  Paxamrecords.com