Ryan Adams recently re-recorded Taylor Swift‘s 1989 – a covers album that was enthusiastically approved by Swift herself – and now the two artists have sat down for a conversation for GQ. In their chat, they discuss the art of songwriting, their method of conquering writer’s block and Adams’ heartbreaking version of Swift’s upbeat album.
“You know when actors say a line, they say a sentence, but they say it with different emphasis on different words and they completely change it? That’s what you did with my album,” Swift tells Adams of his 1989. “When you take a song like ‘All You Had to Do Was Stay,’ my version of it is [hair flip] ‘All you had to do was stay. Sorry about it. I don’t miss you, but now you’re back.’ Yours is like, ‘All you had to do was stay. You broke my heart. That’s all you had to do.'”
Adams also asked Swift if her dreams have ever generated song ideas. “The song ‘All You Had to Do Was Stay,’ there’s a really high-pitched ‘Stay!’ I had a dream, my ex showed up at my door, knocked on the door, and I opened it up and I was about ready to launch into the perfect thing to say,” Swift said. “Instead, all that would come out of my mouth was that high-pitch chorus of people singing ‘Stay!'”
On the topic of writer’s block, Adams admitted, “Whenever I’m stuck when I’m writing, I can just put a Smiths record on and, it’s kind of like if my songwriting was like an iPhone, it recharges it in five minutes. It’s because there’s all these question marks in it; it’s very foreign to me and it’s always going to make me want to go and play guitar.” Swift then reveals her lyrical inspiration on 1989 was John Hughes films.