Monday, 21 September 2015

Recommended music: '1989' by Ryan Adams


Could this be the record Ryan Adams has secretly longed to make all of these years? Quite possibly - listen to not only how relaxed he sounds, and how much fun he's having on some of the tracks, but also how heartfelt they are too. Hear him strip himself bare on 'Blank Space', and then immediately follow that up with the widescreen road-trip rock of 'Style', and you'll realise that although he's pretty much doing this for his own enjoyment, that's a lot here for the rest of us to enjoy too.
If you're not familiar with Swift's original material (and there are many who aren't, or at least won't admit to being) then you might be hard pressed to say whether some songs were hers or his. Even when you get to one of the biggest and most recognisable hits of the past decade 'Shake It Off' there are fair few bars at the beginning where you might not recognise it, and in fact it sounds more than a bit like 'I'm On Fire' by Bruce Springsteen.

If the lush, string laden version of 'Out Of The Woods' doesn't touch you then you really don't deserve to be alive. 'Wildest Dreams' is one that now sounds like a proper Americana track, ending with some gorgeous Byrds-esque guitar. But that's topped by the guitar on the outro to 'Clean' though, which sounds like a Smiths-era Johnny Marr has wandered into the studio to make his presence felt.

Meanwhile, in Ryan's hands, 'How You Get The Girl' sounds like the reminiscences of someone who tried many times to get the girl but failed miserably.

Am I praising him too much? Fair enough, he didn't write the melodies but there's such a skill in doing what he's done, taking them and shaping them to fit a different genre. In doing so he's undoubtedly opened them up to a whole new audience, while at the same time proving just what great songs they are.

This could've been the grandest of follies, self-indulgent and pretentious. Instead it's a huge success, and a credit to both Adams and Taylor Swift herself. Now, when can we expect her to return the favour?

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