1989 Ryan Adams Sony
It’s a tribute to Taylor Swift’s status as a singer and songwriter (or at least co-writer) as well as to the respect she has from her peers that Americana troubadour Ryan Adams should choose to release his own version of her globally massive album 1989. Swift, who is due here in November, and Adams, who toured Australia in July, are poles apart on paper, but the latter has made an exciting hybrid of their respective genres and mostly a successful fist of taking Swift’s predominantly bright and breezy (and well-crafted) pop music into a darker, rockier domain. Adams is equally adept at rocking out and in delicate acoustic mode, and he flits between both here in his attempt to reinvent Swift’s material and make it his own. This he does majestically on the Swift hit Blank Space, which in his hands is transformed from anthemic pop singalong into a beautifully stark, acoustic ballad, Adams’s falsetto and sombre strings giving the song a grace not present on the original. Out of the Woods and How You Get the Girl are equally affecting. 1989 is awash with hits, not all of which work as well as Blank Space under Adams’s guidance. The Swift album’s centrepiece, Shake It Off, a quality pop song, feels slightly undercooked as a Springsteen-inNebraska- mode ballad. Adams rejoices in taking pop structures into bolder settings, rocking out on Welcome to New York and Style. Overall this 1989 is a worthy realisation of a bold idea. Now let’s see what he can do with Iggy Azalea.