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Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critic Reviews What's this?

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6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 122 Ratings

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  • Summary: The alt-country singer-songwriter covers every song on Taylor Swift's 2014 pop album.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Sep 22, 2015
    100
    By re-recording the whole of Taylor Swift's 1989, the maverick alt country star has turned a world beating chart smash album into a tender masterpiece of bruised Americana, in the process emphasising the perfect songcraft and exposing the dark heart of emotion beating beneath Swift's gleaming surfaces.
  2. Taylor's original 1989 is made even more interesting and worthy of discussion by Ryan's overtly classic rock-ified version, while Ryan's version is intriguing as both a personal expression and a reaction to one of the biggest albums we're likely to see come along in our lifetimes.
  3. 80
    What’s most impressive about Adams’ 1989 is the experienced troubadour’s eye and ear with which he brings out the material’s underlying strengths, finding melancholy currents lurking beneath supposedly upbeat, celebratory songs.
  4. Sep 24, 2015
    70
    He can sound awkward navigating Swift’s vernacular of haters and mad love, but when he plays up his strengths--the fingerpicking and strings on “Blank Space,” or changing the “Style” lyric “James Dean daydream” to “Daydream Nation,” a nod to Sonic Youth--the universality of great songwriting shines through.
  5. 60
    The result: an album with zero purpose but worth a listen.
  6. Sep 25, 2015
    60
    It’s just a shame that as entertaining as such popular revisionism can be, his 1989 will be remembered more as a curiosity than it does a full-bore artistic statement.
  7. Sep 25, 2015
    40
    Adams' 1989, for all its sincerity and technical execution, is ultimately hollow because it's nothing but context.

See all 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Jan 18, 2016
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Last month, on September 21st, 2015, Ryan Adams covered pop sensation Taylor Swift’s full album of 1989, which was released on October 27th, 2014, less than a year earlier. This is fascinating, considering Adams must have heard Swift’s album and immediately been inspired to cover it with his own unique sound. Although Adams covered each song in her album, he created his own spin on it. In fact, instead of copying her upbeat pop style, he covered the album in a smooth and relaxing Americana style. Ryan Adams has created his own masterpiece, simply off of his inspiration of Taylor Swift by honoring her talent, yet adding his own flare to the album to make it his own.
    Ryan Adams sings with compassion and sincerity, and his songs tend to be more on the gloomy side, rather than the upbeat, peppy side that Swift expresses through her biggest hits. Adams sings to a different crowd than Swift normally performs to. While Swift is usually performing for an audience full of squealing teenage girls, Adams’ music typically leans toward a calmer, more subtle crowd. It is remarkable to think that Adams was able to pull off covering an album that seemed to be completely different than what he is used to.
    Ryan Adams did a beautiful job at recreating his own version of 1989. He recorded the songs in the same order that Taylor Swift did on her album, yet he recreated his own meaning in each song. In Swift’s song, ¨Long List of Ex-Lovers,” she brags about the hearts she’s broken. In Adams’ version, he grieves over the heartbreaks he has faced and suffered from. The two different styles express both sides of being an ex-lover, creating two totally different points of view. ¨Out of the Woods¨ was a song that Taylor Swift mourns over the past but gives a forward outlook, making escape feel possible. When Adams covered ¨Out of the Woods¨ he lengthened the song, and used the lyrics to represent a trapped or lost feeling inside. In Swift’s hit songs, she adds an upbeat feeling, making listeners feel pumped about her lyrics; while Adams uses his own twist to turn it around to make his songs more relatable and sensitive to listen to. By doing so, he creates a sequel to her album. Taylor Swift’s 1989 first came out a year ago, and fans have raved over her confident and uplifting vibes that the album gave off. Following shortly after, Adams recreated the album, giving listeners a whole new perspective with a whole new story.
    This was an honor to Taylor Swift, and she expressed her gratitude to Ryan Adams. Some would say that Adams’ cover could not compare to the excellence of Swift’s and some would say the opposite; however, it was not his intent to make a better version of her album. He recreated Swift’s 1989 as a tribute and also to express how he personally interpreted each song. Through covering her album, he showed great respect for her by taking the album seriously, and opening up a new way to connect to the lyrics, just as he did himself. Nothing can compliment an artist more than another artist covering his or her music, and Swift certainly took it as if she had received another Grammy award. When Adams first started to release sneak peeks on Instagram, everyone who followed him begged for more. Once the word got out to Taylor Swift that he was covering her entire album, she blew up with excitement. She mentioned how the whole thing seemed ¨surreal and dreamlike¨, which is ironic, because she already seems to be living the dream life.
    Some say that his cover of the album seemed skeptical at first, because many felt as if he was just looking for attention and publicity; however the compassion he expressed through singing in this album is indescribable. If he was simply looking to grab media’s attention, he could have kept the style of 1989 the same, and would not have changed the meaning of each song. Throughout the album, Adams seems to express a hardship that he has faced or the deep thoughts he has pondered over. The connection he made to 1989 is fascinating, considering most people do not even pay attention to the lyrics, yet he was able to reinterpret the lyrics into a whole new meaning.
    Taylor Swift created her album 1989 last October only hoping for some number one hits. Little did she know that her album would go a lot farther than her studio. Along with many other listeners, Ryan Adams fell in love with the album itself. Many people will cover a song or two as a tribute to another artist, or simply for the publicity, but Ryan Adams took it to a whole new level. It is evident that the lyrics in this album took him to a place in his heart that has inspired him to express his feelings through the recreation of the album. By doing so, he honors Taylor Swift for her creativity and musicality. Ryan Adams covered 1989 not only as a relapse of the hardships he has faced, but also as a relapse of Taylor Swift’s own album that he was able to recreate in a beautiful and unique way.
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  2. Sep 21, 2015
    10
    It's amazing--Out of the Woods is the strongest track. I honestly believe that he took the weakest track on 1989 and turned it into the bestIt's amazing--Out of the Woods is the strongest track. I honestly believe that he took the weakest track on 1989 and turned it into the best song of the year. Really all I can say. Expand
  3. Sep 22, 2015
    10
    A record of this nature has no right, or even reason to be this real, this pristine, or this spellbinding. And yet, it is all of this andA record of this nature has no right, or even reason to be this real, this pristine, or this spellbinding. And yet, it is all of this and more. Ryan Adams lovingly strips down the source material, and builds a spacious, rapturous, soul-piercing shell around Taylor Swift's songwriting, elevating 1989 into something magnificent. Expand
  4. Feb 23, 2016
    9
    Yes, covering a song is common, especially a radio dance soft version. This however is somewhat revolutionary and a new art/music form. AYes, covering a song is common, especially a radio dance soft version. This however is somewhat revolutionary and a new art/music form. A whole album and that of one of th emost talented artists out there: Taylor Swift. Adams makes these songs his own, changes some passages to reflect that he is male and with ease puts soul and his own touch to them. It is almost as if some of these songs were his own, reflecting the split with Mandy Moore. Clean and This Love are good examples, songs that work with the challenge of stying in a relationship and the cleansing release. If you hear this once it is not catchy, Ryan Adams seldomly is. A little listening duration however uncovers a lot of depth and soul, even honest felt hurt. A great album as a whole and worthy of (car) airplay. I give it a 9 as it is original (idea of covering an entire album - which alone is already a masterpiece) and heart felt. Expand
  5. Nov 14, 2016
    8
    One of Ryan Adam's more interesting releases, a track for track take on the world conquering Taylor Swift album. It's a ballsy move from a manOne of Ryan Adam's more interesting releases, a track for track take on the world conquering Taylor Swift album. It's a ballsy move from a man of his standing in indie circles and one that for the most part pays off. This record has encouraged me to listen to Swift's original closely and what Adams has done more than anything is highlight how strong the basic songs present are beneath the production treatment. "1989" Ryan Adam's style is reminiscent mostly of Springsteen (stripped down - say Nebraska era) or downbeat Smiths stuff. I can't decide whether or not Adams' treatment of "1989" has improved the record. The highlights on this version are the same as on Swift's which proves the point that the best songs are transferable across genres. Ironically the main strengths and weaknesses of this album are its complete faithfulness to the original. At 13 tracks, it's slightly drawn out. Best moments are "Style", "All You Had To Do Was Stay" and "Bad Blood". I think the maudlin delivery of the likes of "Shake It Off" and "Blank Space" take away from the end product of the songs. As a whole, this album is to be commended in what it attempts to do and is a great listen for fans of Ryan Adams. For anyone who enjoys the record, I'd strongly recommend checking out the original, a pop masterpiece. Expand
  6. Sep 21, 2015
    7
    This is such a good album. I can easily say that it is almost better than the original body of work. He has twisted the lyrics andThis is such a good album. I can easily say that it is almost better than the original body of work. He has twisted the lyrics and production into a compleatly new album, one the feels more personal, emotional and above all, more original. Expand
  7. Sep 26, 2015
    4
    I am really quite shocked by the high marks this album is getting. Most fans of Taylor Swift, such as my daughters and wife, and absolutelyI am really quite shocked by the high marks this album is getting. Most fans of Taylor Swift, such as my daughters and wife, and absolutely no interest in hearing a reinterpretation of their favorite songs done in a Springsteen-esque fashion by a guy they've never heard of. From comments I have read elsewhere, it almost seems that middle aged guys into the Ryan Adams and his style of music are so happy their guy can take contemporary chart toppers and take the melody and lyrics and play it with a guitar-driven and. (Full disclosure: I am a certainly a fan of most of Ryan Adams' work, and similar artists). Songs such as Badblood sound like it's done by bar band you might hear covering Taylor Swift, where you would quickly exit and find another bar.

    I can't imagine this being anything other than a novelty and those giving this 9's and 10's won't be listening to this in near future. Seriously, it's kind of embarrassing guys that you're singing rock versions of your 10 year old daughter's tunes.
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See all 19 User Reviews