There are certain records that define a generation and redefine pop culture. Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” Fleetwood Mac “Rumours,” Guns N Roses “Appetite for Destruction,” Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Adele’s “21,” and so on. I believe Taylor Swift’s “1989,” whether you are a fan or not, will go down as a game changer and a pivotal musical and pop culture moment.
It is an album full of slick production that marries so well with her great hooks, pop sensibilities, and her honest story telling. However, it wasn’t until two weeks ago, that I fully understood and grasped the magnitude of these songs. Ryan Adams, one of my favorite songwriters and singers, just released a reimagined version of the entire “1989” record. His haunting and raw take on these songs really hit me as a songwriter and made me tip one of my many fedoras off to Ms. Taylor.
My favorites on Taylor’s album have always been “Blank Space,” “Clean,” and “Shake it Off.” On Ryan’s, I’m really into his versions of “Bad Blood” and “How You Get The Girl.”
Ryan breathed new light into a record that is played nightly to 50,000 plus people that have embraced the era of Taylor and the enormity of her music. Her music fills stadiums, but Ryan’s take on these songs fills a unique emotional space within us that feels like we are part of the song narrative. We hear the desperation, and in that, it makes total sense that Taylor’s “1989” has resonated with the entire world and has become a phenomenon so vast because if you strip away any of the production, and you just give Taylor an acoustic guitar and ask her to play these songs, they are really, really good songs. Ryan’s stripped down take really brings out the quality of both artist’s crafts, but has really set the stage for “1989” to go down in the books.