Swift Approval: Taylor Swift's Favorite Covers of Her Songs
For Taylor Swift, a seven-time Grammy winner and owner of 18 top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, some fans express their adoration of the superstar's music in one of the most personal ways possible: producing a cover of one of Swift's songs. And for a select few, Swift may express her love right back, by endorsing your cover as a treat for her more than 63 million Twitter followers.
In the past few years, Swift has shared about a dozen covers through her Twitter account. While most versions are from budding young singers, a few contemporary stars' versions have also caught Swift's ear. Check out the covers that have officially merited the Taylor Swift Tweet of Approval below.
Ryan Adams may convert Taylor's drum-thumping acidic sting into a somber, woeful testament anchored by guitar, but the singer-songwriter wisely preserves the cut's inherent catchiness. But Adams' "Blood" is just the beginning of his Taylor tribute. Earlier this year, the singer-songwriter announced plans for a cover of Swift's entire 1989 album, due for digital distribution on Sept. 21.
"Shake It Off" – Jesse Will
Jesse Will takes the ultimate Swift pop hit and restructures it as a haunting ballad accented with a violin. Despite the mood shift, the song's empowering message remains intact.
"Sparks Fly" – Landon Austin
A standout track from Speak Now sparks a tribute from Landon Austin, whose voice and guitar preserve the song's country flavor, but a soft drumbeat thudding in the background injects a light pop touch.
"Blank Space" – Brooklyn Duo
The pair redoes "Blank Space" as a poignant instrumental track performed on a cello and piano. The duo's moving version led Swift to christen the track as "a song people should walk down the aisle to." The lush, classical version is guaranteed to leave listeners breathless (or with a nasty scar).
"Shake It Off" – Kelly Clarkson
Even other reigning pop princesses tip their hat to Swift. On the eve of Swift's 1989 release, America's original Idol and her commanding vocals reworked the pop hit at a concert in Buffalo, even adding a gospel (yes, gospel) opener to the bubbly track.
"I Knew You Were Trouble" – Tom Odell
Across the pond, English singer-songwriter Tom Odell selected this Red hit to cover while making an appearance on BBC Radio 1. Odell and his band morph "Trouble" into a gem where the pain depicted in the lyrics seeps through the alt-rock styling.
"Out of the Woods" – Chase Holfelder
Holfelder crafts a striking replica of the 1989 teaser track, including the production's tricky multi-vocal layers, but the true wonder lies in its creation. After receiving a friendly dare, Holfelder produced his "Out of the Woods" cover entirely with free music apps from Apple's App Store.
"Love Story" – Gabe Bondoc
Swift's ode to Romeo and Juliet gets a shakeup as Bondoc flips the track to be sung from Romeo's perspective. With the flip, Bondoc slightly alters the opening lyrics, but even the larger rewrites for the bridge and ending preserve the spirit of Swift's record.
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" – Hanson
Yes, that Hanson. Though the trio will be forever tied to 1997's "MmmBop," the group proved their tastes are up-to-date after tackling Swift's first No. 1 on the Hot 100 and blanketing the cover with their trademark soft-rock flavor. No wonder Taylor watched it eight times in a row.
"Shake It Off" – Labrinth
You've got the goods when you score Taylor's "OUTSTANDING COVER ALERT." "Shake" transforms from a textbook pop hit into a soul-tinged reggae jam courtesy of Labrinth, a budding U.K. talent. The singer-songwriter-producer proves his impeccable ear by building an incredible horn section and drafting a relaxing atmosphere to smooth out one of the year's spunkiest singles into a laidback groove.
Atreo drapes his own spin on "Style,", slowing the peppy track's tempo for a romantic, piano-centric ballad. A stripped-down production highlights Atreo's smooth and showy vocals, particularly on the bridge's booming repetition of "take me home."
The young cousins -- first introduced to the world via The Ellen DeGeneres Show -- have covered plenty of hits, including Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" and Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." Taylor Swift was lucky enough to get her own tribute version of "I Knew You Were Trouble." The cute rendition is packed with memorable moments -- the best of which is Sophia's epic take on the dubstep chorus.
Two of 1989's finest tracks merge into one stunning duet with these singers at the helm. The collaboration flows between the songs elegantly, and the use of a single instrument, Dawson's guitar, crafts a somber mood where the poignancy of the lyrics and touching vocal performance fuse into a distinctive rendition. No surprise that Taylor was "OBSESSED" with the creation.
Tenor Buds refashions "Shake" into a full duet, with the members trading verses before uniting into a strongly harmonized chorus. Even without the full instrumentation, the piano and vocals capture the punchy energy of Swift's hit, ensuring the feel-good track retains its signature lively flair.