Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ryan Adams: 1989 (Album)

Ryan Adams is blessed with a voice so gorgeous he could sing tax regulations and make them sound like poetry. When he decided to cover Taylor Swift's 2014 release '1989' it was likely to the dismay of many of his die hard fans. Fortunately, that did not stop him from completing his project with the same degree of passion he brings to every one of his musical ventures.

Since dropping Monday, the Internet has been buzzing with rave reviews, even from those who thought the 40-year-old singer-songwriter was mad to cover just over a dozen pop songs by a female artist fifteen years his junior, yet the result shows how right his instincts were. Taking inspiration from Springsteen, Neil Young, and The Smiths as well as mining his personal 2014 Christmas blues, Adams deconstructs and reconstructs, thereby creating a collection of songs that adds up to being one of his best albums while at the same time being a beautiful tribute to his own idols and ultimately also to Swift, his fellow gifted songwriter. It was a bold initiative that in someone else's hands might have gone horribly wrong; instead it has turned out to be what may be the album of the year.

There is not a bad one in the bunch, but to me the stand out track is "Out of the Woods"; it takes my breath away, just as his celebrated cover of Oasis's "Wonderwall" did in 2004.

No videos have been published as of today, only audio, but for once, I don't mind: the music more than speaks for itself.

Adams has three shows scheduled for the fall so far. Two of them are benefit concerts for the Bridge School; they take place at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View in Northern California October 24 and 25. (on the impressive bill are Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks, Nils Lofgren, Gary Clark Jr., St. Vincent, and Spoon.) The third date is a November 21 show at the Corona Capital Festival in Mexico City (for ticket links, see the Facebook link below.)

NOTE: Now, wouldn't it be fun if Ryan Adams covered Bryan Adams, did a tour and brought his almost-namesake and semi-nemesis on stage for a duet?

Listen to Adam's '1989' on YouTube: (missing as of today for some mysterious reason is the last track on the album: "Clear", co-written by Swift and Imogen Heap.)