Ryan Adams promised “tears” with his track-by-track re-recording of Taylor Swift’s pop smash 1989 – and he’s delivered. The full LP is available on iTunes, and Adams has posted 12 of the cover LP’s 13 tracks on YouTube.
The singer-songwriter twists “Out of the Woods” into a dynamic, six-minute rock ballad. Opening with quiet acoustic strums before layering in strings and a full-band arrangement, Adams finds new emotional nuance in lyrics like “You took a Polaroid of us / Then discovered the rest of the world was black and white / But we were in screaming color.”
Adams gives Swift’s soulful, sassy “Shake It Off” a mournful, Springsteen-esque facelift – here, lines like “Haters gonna hate” sound more ominous than celebratory, as the songwriter builds electric guitars and synths into massive crescendo.
On the minimalist side, “Blank Space” finds Adams exploring the softest spots of his upper register over smooth acoustic fingerpicking.
Adams announced the Swift tribute in August, and the pop superstar responded with unbridled enthusiasm. “I’m not gonna be able to sleep tonight or ever again, and I’m going to celebrate today every year as a holiday,” she wrote. Adams responded by teasing a clip of his brooding “Welcome to New York” cover.
Building up to the release date, Swift had been tweeting and re-tweeting endorsements of the album – including a countdown meme of an impatient-looking cat with the caption, “Waiting Fur Ryan Adams 1989 Like…”