Taylor Swift had a ridiculous amount of success with her fifth studio album, “1989.” Myself, a die hard Swiftie since the beginning, am a bit biased, but was excited to listen to Ryan Adams’ distinctive version of the regular album I’ve probably played over a hundred times in full in my bedroom, while singing on my hairbrush full blast. I reviewed the songs as I listened to the album all the way through and wrote it as I listened.
Welcome to New York
There is definitely a more rock and roll/grunge sound to the Adams version that sounds similar to Aerosmith’s music. Adams did a great job of making this song that everyone relentlessly hated on a little less corny af. I’m not a huge fan of the original version (eek, sorry Taylor!), and this one is a little more bearable and interesting.
How You Get The Girl
This gives out a mellow, soothing feeling, whereas Taylor’s version is more upbeat and giggly, which is not too unlike her. The masculine overtones to this version make the listener feel a little more hopeful that these carefully rehearsed words could actually come from a potential boyfriend rather than just scribbled in a female’s diary. The only word I could think of to properly describe this rendition was ‘echoey,’ which is a made up word. I was delighted to hear that it sounds a bit similar to one of my other music idols: the late and great Elliott Smith.
All You Had To Do Was Stay
This version of this song makes for good road tripping music. Adams’ reverberations of acoustic guitar paired with his vocal style makes for a very pleasant trip straight to the ear buds. It is sort of a romantic rock ballad that sings true to your heart. Yes, I know that was cheesy.
Shake It Off
Because I love the original song so much, it is hard to compare, but I’ll give it a shot. It definitely lacks the peppy, kick-ass feminist sentiment that is present in Swift’s original version, but it’s okay to put a new twist on a favorite tune. Adams’ version makes it a lot more serious, and not the girl power, feel-good thing that she was originally going for. Electric guitar is highlighted rather than her big band instruments, and it is definitely a lot slower of a tempo.
I Know Places
This song has a mysterious, funky sound that adds a more playful nature to Swift’s darker ballad about people finding out about a forbidden love and ruining it by how they react, which is usually terribly. There is also a certain familiarity to Adam’s voice that brings me a comfort as I listen to Taylor’s tales about lost love with a different twinge. It is songs like this that make me crave a duet between Taylor Swift and Ryan Adams. After his release of this album, I think the collaboration would be greatly welcomed.
I Wish You Would
Similar to Dashboard Confessional’s style in its opening, ‘I Wish You Would,’ gave me some major feelz. Adams is able to articulate the words in a way that can sometimes be lost by the dream-like quality in Taylor’s voice, where Adams brings it back down to Earth. There’s not a more romantic thought in my mind, than “I wish you were right here, right now, it’s all good, I wish you would.” In this age of cellphones and Facebook, it’s nice to just be with someone in person, with your Internet and devices shut off, just enjoying each other’s company. To me, that’s what this song is about, and I hope someday to be lucky enough to know someone who will do that with me.
LOVE LOVE LOVE!! The original song is great, but after Kendrick Lamar slaughtered it and was overplayed on every radio station known to man, I was certainly ready for a new version to listen to. His clever, selective use of dynamics and combination of vocal timbre is fantastic.
Ah, ‘Blank Space,’ the most powerful song on this album, and Adams does a beautiful job with it. As if she hasn’t convinced every female on the planet to be a psychotic bitch already, this song surely sealed the deal. So watch out boys…Yes, she has been in fact training us since adolescence to be strong, independent, slightly man-hating mini-me’s of her that dress just as well (If we can afford it). “Screaming, crying perfect storms, I can make all the tables turn, rose gardens filled with thorns, keep you guessing like oh my god, who is she? I get drunk on jealousy…” Young love can be a beautiful thing, but boy is it destructive.
Out of The Woods
This song sounds majestic in comparison to its Swiftie counterpart. I like the soft guitar chords coupled with his delicate, wonderfully whiny voice. I’m a person that loves to feel the full depth of sadness, which could certainly be accomplished easily with this as the soundtrack. Toward the end it almost sounds as if there are bagpipes playing, which gives it a different dimension.
Style is a pretty girly-girl, goody two shoes song, aka, right up my alley. The Adams version is Bon Jovi-esque and a bit slower as well. It seems that his musical style is not as upbeat as Swift’s but more keeping to a similar strict beat and keeping a uniform sound throughout his album rendition of 1989. It’s also most definitely a man singing, when the popular verse that sings, “You’ve got that long hair, slicked back, white t-shirt, and I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt,” Turns into “You’ve got that long brown hair thing that I like, you’ve got that good girl faith and that ass so tight.”
Another one of my favorites from Taylor’s album, so let’s see how Ryan Adams measures up. Adams and Swift’s vocals are actually incredibly similar in the beginning of the track. At the chorus he keeps the lower octave, which allows the listener to hear the vocals a little more richly, and changes the harmony towards the end of the chorus. “You see me in hindsight, tangled up with you all night, burn it down. Someday when you leave me I bet all these memories will follow you around,” just another one of Swift’s lyrical victories that has not been trademarked by her…yet. Maybe if Queen Swift gets her way, no one will be able to write love songs except her. Can’t say I will complain!
This song is essentially just a slit-your-wrists soundtrack — enough said. But hey, that’s some people’s style. I don’t judge. ‘This Love” crescendos into a beautiful ending, similar but still starkly different from Taylor’s version. It deeply saddens me to hear a song mimicking that stupid, childish phrase, “If you love something, let it go, if it comes back, that’s how you know.” The letting go is always the hardest part.
In this song, he takes the opposite approach and makes a sad song a bit more upbeat. I always found it intriguing that Taylor would pick a song that alludes to the struggles of someone’s addiction when she so clearly does not struggle with that, and represents something so different. It is a powerful metaphor, and perhaps the heartbreak queen is addicted to love. After all, a toxic romantic relationship can be addicting in both a good and a bad way. That person may seem like they are your whole world, but if they try and keep you sequestered away in a shoebox, unable to breathe or grow, it is something you should run far, far away from, and run fast my friends.