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1989

Alt-country cult hero finds the Morrissey melodies hiding inside Taylor Swift’s latest pop triumph

Ryan Adams

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 06: Ryan Adams performs during the 2015 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)

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ryan adams

One year after releasing 1984, his love-letter EP to mid-Eighties punk, Ryan Adams is back with an album-length cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. It plays like the latest chapter in his ongoing recent Tom-Petty-meets-the-Smiths re-imagining of the Reagan years. “You’ve got that Daydream Nation look in your eye,” he sings, turning “Style” into a Sonic Youth flirtfest. Part playful genre experiment, part publicity stunt, Adams’ 1989 doubles down on Swift’s retro conceit, celebrating a decade when it made perfect sense to begin records with seagull noises. But the real star here is Swift’s infallible material, evidence that the country music defector still worships Nashville’s fondest saying: The song always comes first.

In This Article: Ryan Adams, Taylor Swift

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