Saturday, September 19, 2015

To Be Young Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High: Ryan Adams Readies Full-album Cover of Taylor Swift's 1989 & Smiths-indebted "Bad Blood" (PAX-AM)

Jacksonville's very own genre-blending Alt. Country superstar Ryan Adams is in fact, no stranger to recording full-length cover albums; Adams reportedly recorded, and ultimately scrapped, a stripped down 4-track revision of The Strokes' critically-acclaimed debut Is This It? (2001). But for whatever reasons, Adams' "Blues cover version" has rather discouragingly still only been heard by members of his former backing band, The Cardinals. Ryan Adams' second attempt (or third, if you count his unheard Vampire Weekend album), at a full-length cover album: a self-described Smiths-indebted version of Taylor Swift's recent career-redefining 1989 has been very well-documented through his own personal social media accounts. "Ryan's music helped shape my song-writing. This is surreal and dream-like. Countdown to [Ryan Adams' 1989] @TheRyanAdams," @taylorswift13 frantically Tweeted Thursday afternoon, upon the sudden announcement of Ryan Adams' 1989... which will seemingly be rush-released to digital retailers as early as this upcoming Monday, September 21st. However, I myself, find it slightly disturbing that Swift very well could have been 'influenced' by Adams' coming-of-age Heartbreaker deep cut, "To Be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)." Anyone else share the same sort of semi-awesome sentiment or is it just me!?

Although he unleashed snippets and fragments of various 1989 songs throughout the just wrapped August-September recording sessions, Ryan Adams let loose his full-length version of "Bad Blood" Thursday afternoon on long-time friend and supporter Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show. "'Bad Blood" #1989 What a song. Damn," misterryanadams wrote on Instagram about five weeks ago, accompanying a brief unmastered snippet of Swift's Kendrick Lamar-featuring single. "Badass tunes, Taylor. We're sandblasting them and they're holding steady," Adams continued; alluding to tunes he's tediously stripped own and re-recorded along with La Sera guitarist Todd Wisenbaker, bassist Charlie Stavish, drummer Nate Lotz, Bright Eyes keyboardist Nate Walcott, and added string arrangements. Ryan Adams' own home-grown label PAX-AM will release 1989 this upcoming Monday, September 21st, although it's currently available for pre-order on Apple Music and iTunes; those who purchase 1989 this weekend, will receive an instant download of "Bad Blood" and Adams assures eager crate-diggin' fans like myself that 1989 "CD + vinyl [are] coming soon." Even though we've only heard one track thus far, Ryan Adams' 1989 is poised to be one of his strongest comprehensive pieces of work since his Spider-Man-referencing Lost Highway effort, Easy Tiger (2007) based solely on his past covers repertoire: nearly flawless renditions of everything from Iron Maiden's 1986 single "Wasted Years" to Vampire Weekend's jangly Surf-Rock jam "A-Punk."

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