I’m fond of the practice of adapting a previously existing work of art in such a way that it becomes something unique, expressing truths that were not present in the original. For instance, while there is certainly room for faithful adaptations of books to the screen, I’m a fan of the adaptations that take the original as a jumping off point, then goes in a different direction. Kubrick’s The Shining resembles King’s work in little more than the basic premise, and has an entirely different message, one of inescapable and elemental evil. Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter takes the plots and characters from the books and twists them to communicate Fuller’s own unique vision.
Musical adaptation can be more subtle, yet just as satisfying. Shortly after Taylor Swift released her album 1989, Ryan Adams released his own album with the same title that contained covers of all of Swift’s songs. And it’s fascinating to listen to one in the light of the other, seeing how the same words and the same melodies can, in the hands of two different artists, make us feel completely different emotions. In the case of “Bad Blood,” what plays as anger in Swift’s version turns to heartbreak with Adams’s aching vocals.