He Said, She Said or Ryan Adams – 1989


Please forgive and indulge me for just a second as I have an admission to make – I find most “pop” music to be little more than musical masturbation. There, I said it. It feels good to get that off my chest.

Unfortunately, I just find that over produced songs made in committee lack depth and have no resonance with me. I can appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating a song that is meant to appeal to the masses, but I’m always left with the feeling of being sold product over art. In other words, I’ve never been a Taylor Swift fan.

So, it comes as a bit of a surprise to find myself enjoying Adams reinterpretation of Swift’s work to the point of having to revaluate my perception of the original. Adams, whose personal life was in tatters during the recording of 1989, has chosen to take all his pain and place it within this album. The results are sparse, and leave little room between Adams heartbreak and the listener’s emotional core. As uncomfortable as it might seem, he may as well be in the room with you having a good cry and you along with him.

“How You Get The Girl” is a good case in point. The Swift arrangement turns a story of heartache into a post break dance party. Adams, at his sorrowful best, changes pronouns and alters the storyline from manipulated woman to confused man full of regrets. Playing them beside each other is a bit like being an understanding friend caught in the middle of divorcing couples.

In the end, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that Adams 1989 is a record of fun cover songs: it just isn’t. Instead you are witness to a person in search of hope at a relationships end. The complimenting versions of the record are merely proof that we all go about it in different ways.


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