Adele - 21

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
One of the things I love about music is watching an artist mature over time. In these days of waning music sales, you are largely relegated to watching artists mature in the indy scene. This involves hoping you can see the artist live live or that they will be able to release another album.

No, the labels want sure things and they are no longer willing to wait for an artist to find their audience or sound on pure talent alone. This is what makes Adele exceptional. Adele brings a heart wrenching punch to blue eyed soul that we only glimpsed in her very impressive debut effort, 19.

Since she sells records, we get to see her progression as a songwriter and performer. Her latest work, 21, is even more impressive than her debut. She pours her heart and voice into every note, but don't think this is a an album of jazzy/bluesy ballads. The first two songs, 'Rolling In The Deep' and 'Rumour Has It' are modern soul/alt rock powerhouses.

'Rolling in the Deep' with it's 'F*** You, you are missing the best thing that ever happened to you' attitude lets the world know that sweet girl who made 19 has grown up with lyrics like this:
Finally, I can see you crystal clear.
Go ahead and sell me out and I'll lay your ship bare.
See how I leave, with every piece of you
Don't underestimate the things that I will do.

The rock stomper 'Rumour Has It' shows some range as well owing as much to rock-a-billy as R&B. 'Don't You Remember' is Adele's bread and butter song. In her own words, she is a writer of "heartbroken soul" songs.

Don't You Remember is also dying to be covered by an country singer somewhere. Her words can't get much more soulful than this, but they would be just as at home in a country song:
I had no idea of the state we were in.
I know I have a fickle heart and bitterness
And a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head
But don't you remember, don't you remember?
The reason you loved me before,
Baby please remember me once more.
Expect to see a bunch of aspiring singers raiding Adele's small but amazing catalog on every music talent show. It sounds like hyperbole, I know, but, the last singer/songwriter to move me like this was… well hell, I don't even know.

Another instant standout is 'He Won't Go', which, and I mean this in the most positive sense, rings as a sultry cross of Steely Dan and pure 70's R&B gold. The whole album is like a comfortable friend. An extremely talented friend.

'Take It All' with it's backing gospel sound tells me that Adele knows and loves the history of music. 'I'll Be Waiting' is very reminiscent of early Elton John with a powerful horn section. The only song I have any complaint with is the cover of The Cure's 'Lovesong', which is surprising, considering producer Rick Rubin's ability to match performers with other peoples songs. This cover is a bit of a weak link, but by no means does it diminish the album.

With her newest album, Adele proves that she should no longer be compared to her counterparts (Amy Winehouse, Duffy) and is fully an artist to watch in her own right. Since she not only impresses but also sells records, we assured to see another followup. Given her growth between 19 and 21, I can't wait to hear what she serves up next.

Adele - 21

Rolling In The Deep

Don't You Remember (Live)

1 comment :

  1. Excellent review, my friend!! I concur, entirely.


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