As is true for most humans, Taylor Swift’s charisma skyrockets when she’s playing an instrument—and the effect is even more startling with New Hot Bombshell Taylor ft. New Low Range And New Vocal Control, plus my second-favorite song off 1989, “Wildest Dreams.”
Swift did this cover last September at the Grammy Museum, and it hit YouTube a few days ago: onstage with just an amp and the blunt, fuzzy twang of her guitar, she pulls “Wildest Dreams” from the Disney Lana Del Rey album version back to its gorgeous bones. The “stripped/justified,” assured, Nashville-adjacent thing she has going on here has made me wish, not for the first time, that she would go full Shania on her next album: imagine Taylor Swift back to anthemic power-pop-country, but as a Grown Woman this time.
Or, in lieu of that, another dream: an album of country covers, in the style of the above, and including the following.
Shania Twain, “That Don’t Impress Me Much”
Shot-for-shot remake of the video, obviously: why has no one done this yet?
Faith Hill, “I Love The Way You Love Me”
#TBT the little auto-tune in the chorus backup vocals.
Patty Griffin, “Let Him Fly”
I can hear Tay-Tay’s voice breaking cutely on the line about acrobats.
Deana Carter, “Strawberry Wine”
All my life I have regretted not losing my virginity in exactly the circumstances described in Deana Carter’s masterpiece “Strawberry Wine.” Bonus shouts to “Did I Shave My Legs For This.”
Trisha Yearwood, “She’s In Love With the Boy”
The lyrics-as-exposition, the marriage plot, the entire topline—this is a Taylor Swift song, by which I mean some Taylor Swift songs are Trisha Yearwood songs, etc.
LeAnn Rimes, “One Way Ticket”
I have nothing to say about this one because I’m mesmerized by the frame YouTube chose to freeze this one on.
JoDee Messina, “Heads Carolina, Tails California”
The original arrangement—through the verses, at least—is still perfect.
Sara Evans, “No Place That Far”
God, Sara Evans’s voice was so fucking good. Bring on Chris Stapleton, or Justin Timberlake, hell, for the harmony.
There are as many more candidates, but you get it—wouldn’t this rule?
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