Is Playing Ryan Adams Over Taylor Swift Sexist?

You’ve no doubt heard by now that Ryan Adams released a track-by-track cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. In the process, songs like “Shake It Off” underwent an interesting metamorphosis.

Having listened to the whole album, I definitely prefer Adams’ interpretation of these songs to the original. Does that make me sexist?

This is the charge being levelled at Triple J radio in Australia. This is from Tone Deaf:

The triple j Hottest 100 always sweeps the nation — at least, those who care about music, a.k.a. the only people we’re interested in — but this year’s countdown made headlines for a very unique and totally unexpected reason.

As readers will almost certainly recall, the Hottest 100 became embroiled in a controversy with pop superstar Taylor Swift following a viral campaign by BuzzFeed, which attempted to secure a place for Swift’s hit ‘Shake It Off’ in the countdown.

After much speculation, Swift was not included in the countdown, with triple j explaining their decision to omit ‘Shake It Off’ from the poll with a mock website dubbed TripleJFeed, which featured a layout similar to BuzzFeed.

But just when Australia’s national youth broadcaster thought they were done with Taylor Swift controversy, they’ve gone and plopped themselves in hot water once again after they played a Ryan Adams cover of Swift’s recent single ‘Wildest Dreams’.

According to the triple j Plays Twitter account, which keeps track of everything played on the station, Adams’ cover of ‘Wildest Dreams’ — a cut from the alt-country star’s album of covers inspired by Swift’s 1989 LP — was played at 11:35pm on Monday.

As RipItUp note, Adams isn’t exactly a triple j mainstay these days.

This is where the charges of sexism are laid.  Valid argument? Oversensitive? A big deal about nothing? Read on here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “Is Playing Ryan Adams Over Taylor Swift Sexist?

  • October 1, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    What does it say about me if I liked Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville” more than I liked The Stones’ “Exile on Main Street?”

    • October 1, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      As someone who once got a hug from Liz Phair, it means you’re perfectly fine.

  • October 1, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I think this can be a case of NIN’s Hurt or Cash’s Hurt. Both really good in their own rights, but some will prefer one the other. Not sure it makes you sexist unless you go out of your way to make sex an issue here. Me? I prefer Taylor’s version here, And i also prefer Cash’s version in my example.

  • October 2, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I don’t think it’s sexist. It’s the demographic. Apparently, Adams sold more during the first week of release than Swift. But it could mean that Adams fans don’t download as much so those numbers are skewed.


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