Ryan Adams Releases ‘1989’, Tech Press Rejoices

When Ryan Adams revealed via Twitter a month or so ago that he was working on covering the entirety of Taylor Swift’s 1989, I don’t think I was alone in rejoicing; nor was I likely the only one who feared the project would never see the light of public day. It turns out, our fears were unfounded. With a bit more fanfare than a typical Adams release, the Ryan Adams reinterpretation of Swift’s 2014 chart topper made its way out into the wild.

Much to my surprise, the tech press was all over the news. Here are bits of the reports that I didn’t expect to see coming across my tech RSS and Twitter feeds:

First, James Vincent over on The Verge:

Adams’ reimagining of 1989 has already generated significant buzz thanks in no small part to Swift’s engagement with the project. Last week, she called news of the cover album “surreal and dreamlike” (adjectives that can also be applied to the listening experience), and this morning took to Twitter to retweet praise for the project, including judgments such as “if you need me, I’ll be listening to this on repeat for the rest of my life,” and “SCREAMING CRYING PERFECT STORMS.” It’s fair to say then that the reception, so far, seems pretty good.

Next, Wired graces us with a back and forth between K.M. McFarland and Jordan Crucchiola in Two Superfans Break Down Ryan Adams 1989 Cover Album. Here’s K.M. McFarland aptly drawing out the brilliance of Swift’s original work by way of its role as Adams’ muse:

K.M. McFarland: Turning this into a solo piano ballad reveals the inadvertent work Adams accomplishes with his full-album covers project. In general, Taylor Swift—like other pop artists with younger fanbases—gets pigeonholed as trivial and unworthy of critical analysis. But Adams’ covers are nothing if not wholly serious, proving that the underlying foundation of Swift’s songs merit this kind of meticulous attention. “This Love” is mournful but unspectacular in Adams’ hands, but it highlights the larger merits of this endeavor.

And finally, from probably the most unexpected corner of my tech world, Jason Snell writing for his Six Colors blog:

Covering an entire album is a pretty bold gesture, and doing it while the previous album is still in the public consciousness is even bolder. Swift’s original is very much modern pop infused with an ’80s pop sensibility, which—as an ’80s pop music fan—I love. Adams’ choices in reinterpreting the songs are fascinating—I hear Springsteen, Neil Young, even Chris Isaak at one point.

It’s unlikely I’ll ever recover enough of my overly anxious reactions for a full post or review, but right now my early favorites are ‘Out of the Woods’, ‘Clean’, ‘Blank Space’, and ‘All You Had To Do Was Stay’.