Overseas it is the disc's most anticipated of these weeks: if we were in marketing, the operation of Ryan Adams would seize called "win-win". Everyone wins. A "Cover Album" of "1989" by Taylor Swift, a singer-songwriter rock that takes the best-selling pop album of the last year, and turns it into a tribute to the rock sound of the '80s, the ones where you did the' former country star of Reading, which instead was inspired by the synthpop of that period. The Swift is seen accredited by one of the biggest names in rock of the past 15 years (and in fact is supporting the project, saying that Ryan Adams is one of the names on which it was formed); Adams is visible outside of the niche. Listeners will appreciate the irony of Adams, and those of Swift rediscover songs you know by heart. Put us that, if the discs covers have now broken boxes, redo the entire album is something decidedly less common, and more outlandish: those reggae of Easy Star All-Stars, those crazy Flaming Lips, the "Record Club" Beck - and little else (including a tremendous version of Macy Gray d9 "Talking Book" by Stevie Wonder). It also put us Adams has wisely told live on social media. The game is over..
"1989" in the version of Ryan Adams is a record that funzona on different levels. Confirms one of the golden rules of the music: if the songs are good - and those of Swift are - work with any arrangement. Then there is the game of recognizing quotes: Ryan Adams has made an almost philological, reproducing the sounds of British rock '80s, early' 90s, peppering the songs of quotations more or less explicit. In no particular order, they feel references to Smiths (and their followers, like Gene and Sundays); Cure, Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, John Cougar Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, Toad The Wet Sprocket, the Pixies, REM, and the whole "college rock" of that period, the Replacements, Chris Isaak, The Psychedelic Furs, The Smithereens, 10,000 Maniacs, the Curch, and who knows how many others. In short, if you grew up in that era, it is a trip down memory lane.
Not everything works, in this album. It works well when Ryan Adams has fun, and overturns the songs: there are refinements to applause. And then you have found the most trivial, especially when Adams simply do acoustic versions of pop songs: once ok, but after a while 'playing tired.
The risk in general is that it becomes an album especially for journalists, bloggers, nerd or for fans of the genre. The fact is that - this is the last level - this version of "1989" is a good album regardless. Here it is, song by song.
"Welcome to New York"
Beat tastieroni and open the original version, with the voice with effects that comes shortly after. Ryan Adams immediately puts the record straight and takes over the song with an intro acoustic 12-string, a button down nearly by U2 and the power that comes on the chorus, and a coda with keyboards. Partly as a song by John Cougar Mellencamp - if he put the reverb on the drums, the game would be complete - and end up as one of the Church.
The original version played all the rhythm built by scanning the words. Here Adams plays it safe: an acoustic guitar and voice that slows the text. On entering the final bows and keyboards. It 'the first reference to "I'm on fire" Springsteen - that will be developed to perfection in "Shake it off" - and in general the acoustic rock of that era.
The original version was a perfect exercise in style on the sounds of pop-rock radio, between the 80s and 90s. Here Ryan Adams is a game similar to the previous song by subversion: the fast, "pump" the song with electric guitars that seem to come from Bryan Adams, rock FM radio at that time.
"Out of the woods"
The layering of the original sound (batteries, tastieroni, sampled voices and-effected) becomes a ballad reminiscent folkeggiante certain things acoustic REM of that period ("Swan Swan H" and so). It does not work, though: because the beauty was the rhythm of the words of Taylor Swift, and here instead Ryan Adams sings like a lament. Beautiful opening the tail end, reminiscent of the last melancholic Smiths - but the game is the same as "Blank space".
"All you had to do was stay"
Part with a low almost Pixies ("Gouge Away"), then enters a guitar that more can not be more than 80, in addition to the 12 strings on the chorus. In here there are so many things that it is hard to mention them all: U2, The Smiths, college rock (the last Replacements, The Smithereens ...). Beautiful version but ...
"Shake it Off"
... Not as beautiful as this. Here is Ryan Adams is to be applauded: take the infectious pop original and sounds like it's Bruce Springsteen to mid 80s. "Shake it off" seems a cover of "I'm on fire", with the rhythm made from chopsticks, the phrasing of the guitar, the voice, the keyboard a bit 'plasticky ... Brilliant. And enjoyable.
"I wish you would"
Even here, the game is repeated: the pop effect is slowed down in an acoustic version and minimal, with a guitar in the background that seems to come from the Cure "Disentegration" or something of the Psychedelic Furs. Another beautiful instrumental coda.
Begins with an acoustic guitar to "Wonderwall" - that Adams has reinterpreted years ago, with the same method of stripping often used here. Ryan Adams turns syncopated pop mid-tempo rock almost perfect, always with the small guitar-Cure to the Smiths in the background.
Another version of applause. The original was dark, almost gloomy, with keyboards and strings. Ryan Adams opens with an arpeggio guitar by Tom Petty or early REM which supports the whole song, it makes solar. The tail end with electric guitars that weave is pure class.
"How you get the girl"
Another track simplified with an acoustic guitar and voice a bit 'whiny, with some arch. Nothing of that.
In the original, it is a ballad, one of the few quieter moments of the disc. Also here is a ballad, but almost ghostly, based on the piano, and a little 'guitar. The melody works perfectly on this basis.
"I know places"
Other small jewel: the pop syncopated takes veins westerns, with "twang" and guitars to Chris Isaak, and a couple of steps with electric guitar arpeggios to REM.
Electronic pop turned into pop rock textbook: this is the song that seems more "Smithsiana", with an embroidery of guitar straight out of "There Is A Light" that never goes out "- and the melody that is not too far from that masterpiece. The Smiths had to be the main inspiration of the disc, said Adams are just one of many, the most obvious here, for a record that, apart from a few moments of tired, it's fun and enjoyable regardless of the fact that it covers.