Music Review: Ryan Adams transforms Taylor Swift’s 1989 into a melancholy masterpiece

Ryan Adams goes wherever his muse directs him, which explains why he’s just as likely to release a hardcore EP as he is an alt-country masterpiece. But when news broke that he had decided to put his own spin on Taylor Swift’s 1989 (and was interpreting it in the style of the Smiths, no less), it was one of his more random, if not entirely unexpected, gestures. After all, Adams once made a blues version of the Strokes’ 2001 debut, Is This It, which never saw the light of day, and he’s decidedly un-snobbish about his musical likes.

As it turns out, Adams was indeed serious about treating his version of 1989 with complete respect and reverence. The finished product is decidedly free of irony or shtick, and, perhaps more important for a covers album, transforms the source material. Swift’s 1989 felt upbeat and empowering, though …

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