The new “1989”

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“Ryan Adams? Who’s that?” -Says almost every teenager this week as Adams’ album 1989 hit the web. When I first heard Ryan Adams was going to be covering Taylor Swift’s entire album, I knew it would be beautiful, because her lyrical content is extremely strong, especially on this album. But I expected a fully acoustic album from start to finish, instead, Adams completely re-vamped each song, truly making it his own.

With Bono-like vocals, 1989 is a little bit country, a little bit rock, and even a little bit folk. Songs like “Style” take on a whole new level of rock, that you don’t hear in your head when listening to Swift’s version. While the uppity “Shake It Off” is transformed into a soft easy-going song that you could sip your Chai Tea too at a nearby corner Starbucks. Soft electric guitars cruise through the entire album with subtle grace and beauty. “Bad Blood” remains almost the exact same but is transformed into an acoustic version, keeping a similar beat.

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I have to applaud Adams, for following what I’d like to call a “passion project”. I can only imagine how difficult this was to work on. You would be constantly reminded of the original versions, which could be extremely distracting.

Adams recently told Zane Lowe on his Apple Music radio show, that he’s been a Swift fan for a while, “A lot of those songs are pretty flawless, they’re so well written, they’re so clean.” His recent divorce with actress/singer Mandy Moore most likely contributed to his newfound love for poetic lyrics, as heard in pretty much every Swift song. Once Adams set his mind to this project, he did it, “I bought a four track cassette recorder and I was like, ‘I’m gonna make 1989 like Nebraska style…Just acoustic guitar, bunch of spring reverb, just me.”

He truly made 1989 his.


“I Know Places” – Vance Joy cover

Recently, Taylor Swift tweeted about a cover of one of her 1989 songs, “I Know Places”. A story of a secret relationship, hidden from the public and the unity found within it. Ms. Swift thinks it might be her favorite cover she’s ever seen…and I HAVE to agree. The second I plugged my headphones in and watched the full video, I was obsessed. Vance Joy does a phenomenal job at giving emotion to every single word in the song. Almost as if, “I Know Places” became re-born again through the mouth of Joy himself.


Joy takes a romantic twist on the song, making it all acoustic, using his voice and string plucking fingers to create a gorgeous new song that Ms. Swift is certainly proud of. The chorus is gentler, filling every gap of the guitar chords. Joy’s voice wavers in the most beautiful way as he makes his way to “I know places we can hide.” Near the end, he sings “Just grab my hand and don’t ever drop it, my love,” and it is breathtakingly soft and perfect. The song almost takes on a whole new meaning than the one Swift gave it. Hers is powerful, slightly dark, and loud. While Joy’s could count as a love ballad, something you could hear at a wedding, the elements of love are more prominent with the easygoing pluck of every guitar string. I actually prefer Vance Joy’s cover to the original. I think you will too…