I want to tell you about a record I have on heavy rotation right now: Ryan Adams' version of 1989, (the massive pop record Taylor Swift released in late 2014). Ryan recorded Taylor’s songs his own way, with his own band. The results are stunning. First of all, I’m in awe of how great the songs are. I would have missed this record completely if not for Ryan's version, because I don’t listen to pop music anymore. The overall sound of commercial radio these days hurts my ears. But Taylor Swift’s brilliant pop songs hold up beautifully as Americana Rock songs, and as I study them, I am discovering layers and layers of songwriting genius.
Great songs will work in any genre, and Ryan’s record brings this truth back into focus - songs are the store, genre is the window dressing. Ryan’s take on Taylor’s songs is heartbreaking (1989 is a breakup record). The sound of the recording brings Springsteen to mind over and over again.
I highly recommend this record if you’re looking for something musically brilliant and breathtakingly beautiful to sink your ears into. I am completely enamored.