I have this friend who I think is the only person who is unaware of Taylor Swift’s record breaking album 1989, which officially spent a complete year in the top ten of the the Billboard 200. He prefers more indie folk/jazz music, particularly if it’s rather unknown, so he doesn’t listen to pop radio or follow artists like Taylor Swift. No judgement. We all have different tastes in music. I’m entitled to listen to T. Swift just like he’s entitled not to. However, for years he would moan how she’s too “mainstream” and basically wouldn’t give her a chance. I would tell him he might like one of her songs, but he never gave her a fair shot (in my opinion).
When Ryan Adams released his cover of 1989, naturally I listened to it and enjoyed it (I particularly like his cover of “All You Had to Do was Stay”). Adams completely took Swift’s album and made it his own, but he made it a completely different genre and made it sound like something from the early nineties. I knew my friend would like it. So I sent it to him.
Yesterday we were talking about Ryan Adams and my friend was telling me all about how he listened to the album and actually liked it. Turns out some of the songs were catchy to him and intrigued him. Then I told him how Ryan Adams covered the whole album. That in fact Taylor Swift created the original album and had written the entire album. Boy, was he shocked.
True, the performance styles between Taylor Swift and Ryan Adams are different and my friend probably responded to the more folksy sound of Ryan Adams than the bubbly pop of Taylor Swift, but the fact remains you cannot perform a song in any style without it being well written (or written at all). And the fact Swift’s songs could stand up and still shine through Adams covers shows her incredible songwriting ability. This is not to say Ryan Adams is not a quality musician – it takes great talent to do what he did. My point is that instead of my friend writing off Taylor Swift as untalented or lackluster, he should have actually just listened to one of her albums before saying she was a waste of time. Because whether or not he wants to admit, I know he liked an album Taylor Swift wrote. And he can never take that away from me.