Ryan Adams and Taylor Swift Talk Reinterpreting ‘1989’
Taylor Swift has been an extremely vocal supporter of Ryan Adam's 1989 covers album, and now it's officially available for both Swift and Adams fans to enjoy. Adams visited Zane Low's Beats 1 show yesterday (September 22) to discuss the project, and prior to the broadcast, Lowe had been touting a "very special guest." Any guesses to wh—yeah, it was Taylor Swift, obviously. Who else would it be? Harry Styles? That would be awesome too, but no.
Ryan tells Zane that the idea for a 1989 covers album was initially born sometime around his birthday last year. "During that time, I was going through sort of a difficult time in my life," he says. (Ryan announced a separation from his then-wife, Mandy Moore, at the very beginning of 2015.) He said by Christmas, he was getting ready to spend the holidays "basically alone." Already a fan of Taylor's songwriting (he calls "White Horse" a "perfect song"), he sat down with her 2014 album and a four-track cassette recorder he'd just purchased, and attempted to lift his sad mood with a distracting new side project.
"I said, I'm gonna make 1989 like Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska," says Ryan, referring to Springsteen's acclaimed 1982 acoustic album, which was also recorded to cassette. After he'd shared his first four covers online, the musician was mystified to discover they were getting a whole lot of listens, and deleted them for fear of copyright infringement trouble — until he found out that Taylor had retweeted him. And the rest is modern pop history.
Taylor joins the conversation around the 7:40 mark, which is evidently a surprise somehow (Ryan jokes, "Is that WILL.I.AM dialing in?" when the phone first rings).
“What struck me immediately when I listened to it is how they’re not cover songs,” Swift tells Zane. “They’re reimaginings of my songs, and you can tell that he was in a very different place emotionally when he put his spin on them than I was when I wrote them. There’s this beautiful aching sadness and longing in this album that doesn’t exist in the original."
It's even influencing Taylor's originals, in some kind of meta, back-and-forth-forever loop. "I would kind of start singing his new melodies on tour and have to stop myself, because the crowd was going to be so confused." Listen to the full interview above.
As for Taylor's favorite 1989 covers — sorry, reimaginings — she said it was a tie between “Blank Space” and “How You Get The Girl.” You can hear them both below.
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