Song of the Day: “Wildest Dreams”

It’s probably evident that I’m not really a Top-40 Hits type of girl. I mean, sure, they’re fun to listen to every now and then, but as a general rule I don’t really pay much attention to that side of the music scene. When I do, it’s usually because I’ve discovered the musical equivalent of crack and I listen to it on repeat until I cannot stand it anymore. Every once in a while, however, I come across a single with a bit more staying power and this has been the case with Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.”

In all honesty, I’m still not completely sure what it is about this song that keeps me coming back, but I listened to it at least 5 times in a row the first time I heard it. Maybe I just want to channel my inner dirty mistress. Maybe it’s the broody melodrama of it. Who knows.

At any rate, I thought I really loved this song. And then I heard Ryan Adam’s rendition of it.

First confession: I didn’t even recognize it at first. I was walking through the airport and it was playing on the speakers and it sang so strongly of old R.E.M. to me (think Out of Time) that I stopped and shazam’d it right then and there. *Cue pileup of suitcases and disgruntled airport-goers behind me. #musicbloggerlife

Second confession: I had no idea who Ryan Adams was at the time (mistakes were made). Who is this guy? And is this really the same song? Because it sounds so different. So good. So retro in all the best ways. Which led to my next (horribly misinformed) question: “Did T. Swizzle cover ‘Wildest Dreams’?”

How much sense would that make? It would explain why I loved it and why I REALLY loved the Ryan Adams version. A little bit of digging later and I discovered that no, in fact, it was Ryan Adams who had covered T. Swift…her entire album, for that matter. Which brings us here, to me loving this song and being floored by what musicians can do. The Swift version is good, but the Adams version shines for me. How many people can cover a song so well that it sounds more like the “original” than the actual original? It’s an interesting and weird phenomenon—Adams clearly took the album title to heart when constructing the sound and evoked a different side of 1989, a more classic, early alt rock side that was playing in my car on every road trip we took when I was a kid. So, I suppose it’s obvious that I’d think his version was the original upon hearing it. But it still blows my mind.

Which version do you prefer? Any other covers out there as good or better than the originals?

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