Track of the Day: 'Style' (cover)

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

When Taylor Swift lusts after a guy with “that James Dean daydream look” and brags about her “red-lip classic thing that you like,” she’s pining for something specific that is often thought of as universal: the “all-American” aesthetic, very much a Swifty fetish, one that’s more political than it may seem.

No surprise that for his 1989 cover album, Ryan Adams subbed in own alterna-dude OK Cupid interests: “Daydream Nation look in your eyes,” and “pent-up love thing that you like.” No wonder, too, that he ditched Swift’s sleek synths for herky-jerky indie rock. It makes you think of the other styles of “Style” there could be, and of all the ways different people might envision secret fun forbidden love.

(My new review of the album is here.)

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