When Ryan Adams announced yesterday that his next project would be a front-to-back cover of Taylor Swift’s blockbuster album 1989, the reaction was largely mind-blown enthusiasm (and not just from Swift herself). It’s not the first time that Adams has found himself so inspired by the work of someone else in the cultural zeitgeist that he decided the best way to reflect upon their genius is to record a full album of covers–he did the same thing for The Strokes’ debut album Is This It way back in 2002, although recordings from those sessions have never surfaced (he’s been known to drop “Last Nite” into his live sets occasionally, though)–but it’s not necessarily an odd couple, since Adams has a tendency to self-reinvention that mirrors Swift’s own.
Since announcing the project, Adams has apparently been so taken by the enthusiasm displayed by basically the entire Internet that he’s started offering glimpses of the songs–he posted snippets of both “Out Of The Woods” and “All You Had To Do Was Stay” on Twitter early Friday morning, declared that his version of “Shake It Off” would be a good fit for a True Detective driving scene, and said that his “Out Of The Woods” is “maybe the best sad song I ever did.” (He has a long way to go to top “Oh My Sweet Carolina” and “Jacksonville Skyline,” for sure.) He also shared via Instagram some art–clearly inspired by Raymond Pettibon, the premiere visual stylist of SST Records and the 80’s punk rock era–that mashes up Pettibon’s cover for Sonic Youth’s Goo with Swift’s lyrics to “Shake It Off” (as designed by UK artist Scissorsaurus). As mashups go, Tay-Tay and Adams make a fair bit of sense (any alt-country star who recorded an album like Adams’s 2010’s sci-fi/heavy metal album Orion can probably relate to Swift’s desire to reinvent herself as a dance-pop megastar one some level, at any rate), and Adams’s clear enthusiasm for the project is pretty infectious. At the very least, we can’t wait to see who he gets to do Kendrick’s verse on his cover of the “Bad Blood” remix.
Hear the song snippets below.
And regarding Adams’s take on “Shake It Off”: