I wasn’t going to listen to Ryan Adams’s 1989 cover album, obviously, but then I started reading people saying it sounded like Bruce Springsteen. I really like Springsteen, and, actually, if any guy could cover Swift successfully it might be him (they both manage to present self-conscious story-telling as sincerity). Sadly, Adams’s version sounds almost nothing like Springsteen. I can just about hear the similarities between Adams’ version of “Shake it Off” and “I’m on Fire,” but his vocals have none of the dark yearning of the Springsteen track, and anyway the style of “I’m on Fire” isn’t a fit for “Shake it Off” at all. But that pretty much exemplifies Adams’s record; what’s baffling is just how incompetent it is. Why has he transposed the songs into keys that take them outside his vocal range? Why has he altered the rhythms of tracks without paying any attention to what effect that will have on the stress patterns of the lyrics?