Taylor Swift and Ryan Adams — two artists who created two distinctly different albums from just one set of lyrics — recently got together to discuss the intricacies of songwriting. One of the topics broached by Adams, who recently released his cover album of Taylor Swift’s meteorically popular 1989, was how to deal with writer’s block. While Adams prefers to listen to The Smiths to replenish his creativity, Taylor finds her inspiration in an entirely different medium.
“It’s never been other music,” Swift said, “but for 1989 I’d watch John Hughes movies, and I would think, ‘Okay, pause, freeze-frame. What’s she thinking in this moment? What’s he thinking in this moment?'”
Few writers are more adept at capturing teenage angst than the legendary John Hughes. The scribe is responsible for writing seminal ’80s classics like The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and Some Kind of Wonderful.
He also co-wrote Beethoven, so he understands the plight of unruly St. Bernards as well.
During her conversation with Adams, Swift also revealed that her adept songwriting ability doesn’t just extend to waking hours, oh no. Swift also writes lyrics in her sleep.
“The song ‘All You Had to Do Was Stay,’ there’s a really high-pitched ‘Stay!'” Swift explained to Adams. “I had a dream that my ex showed up at my door, knocked on the door, and I opened it up and I was about ready to launch into the perfect thing to say, and instead, all that would come out of my mouth was that high-pitch chorus of people singing ‘Stay!'”
Even in her nightmare Swift writes lyrics like a daydream.
Ryan Adams’ 1989 cover album is now available.
For the latest pop culture news and voting, make sure to sign up for the People’s Choice newsletter!