Rating: 5 out of 5
British singer Adele Adkins has collected rave reviews and numerous awards – including a whopping six Grammys – for this stunner of an album. This effort is her impressive follow up to 19, both aptly titled to reflect her age at the time of writing the album and both with lyrical content to match what she was going through in life. All well and good, but what has made the now 24-year-old Adele one of the key women to watch in the music industry? Here’s what all the fuss is about…
Adele’s soulful bluesy music fronted by her wide vocal range and smooth tone create a gutsy album full of chart-toppers that you won’t be able to get out of your head. This album was written off the back of Adele’s 2008-2009 North American tour which added southern blues and American country inspiration to her original folk/Motown roots. Her trademark retro sound and the songstress’ maturity in both her singing and her songwriting is evident in every song.
If you really take the time to listen to 21 properly, it will be impressive if you manage to survive to the end of the album without a tear. Born out of Adele’s separation with her partner at the time, you’ll be taken through a rollercoaster of anger, sadness, forgiveness and revenge. Opening up your world so truthfully to your audience must have been somewhat scary in a cathartic this-is good-for-me-to-get-it-out kind of way, but it’s always a good cocktail for the critics and it has certainly paid off for Adele!
The album opening footstomper Rolling In The Deep will be a familiar hit by now with it’s repeated kickdrum/clap rhythm.‘Finally I can see you crystal clear / Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your sh*t bare’. Yeouch. There’s no beating around the bush with this girl. Rumour Has It returns to her original sound complete with Motown-esque backing vocals, jazzy piano accompaniment, tambourine and a hint of anger.
After such an incredible musical offering, she could hardly finish with a fizzler; and Someone Like You doesn’t disappoint. Haunting bare vocals accompanied by a lone piano have Adele overcoming the emotional bitterness stemming from her relationship breakdown as she discovers several months after their split that her former partner is now engaged to someone else. Almost the complete opposite to her ‘I don’t need you’ message from the first track, she sings sadly of her knowledge that she’s still not over it, but one day she’ll find ‘someone like you’ again. This one feels like the real star of the album.
21 is a mix of emotions – heartbroken, ballsy, bluesy music that will take you through Adele’s tumultuous self-examination fronted by a woman not afraid to lay herself bare to the world. An album that should be part of everyone’s music collection.
For more info on Adele, check out her official website: www.adele.tv/home
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