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Ian Walker 04/08/11 08:03 PM

Adele - 21
 
Adele - 21
Record Label: XL Recordings
Release Date: January 19, 2011

It seems like nowadays anyone with a decent voice and enough money to pay someone to write them a hook and record it has a good chance of having a hit single. Today's pop music scene continues to be the biggest joke in the music industry, as artists are continually produced out of thin air and discarded just as fast as they came. For the most part creativity has taken a backseat to popularity. Fortunately, that isn't always the case. British singer-songwriter Adele Adkins is one of those bright buoys in the sea of mediocrity. She exploded onto the scene with her debut album 19, a soulful whirlwind of retro-pop hits that earned her four Grammy nominations. Now, two years later and two years older, Adele has once again crafted a pop masterpiece in her sophomore record 21.

The album opens strong with “Rolling in the Deep,” the first of 21's many hit singles. Adele's powerful voice is introduced with a soft acoustic accompaniment, quickly joined by a pounding bass drum that forms the backbone of the entire song. Her vocals throughout the verses are incredible, but they don't begin to compare to the unrestricted emotion Adele showcases in the almost mournful chorus. Backing vocals lend a very soulful atmosphere to the already retro song structure but, much like the rest of the album, Adele's sensual vocal stylings take center stage and fail to disappoint.

The next track, “Rumor Has It,” is another percussion-driven jazz number that details the complexity that would obviously come with being a part of multiple love triangles. Adele is equal parts demeaning and seductive, flitting between emotional poles with an impressive elegance that's all too rare in today's music scene. The track even offers a short preview of the next in the form of a stripped-down piano bridge, where Adele's vocals carry a twinge of sweetness before being rushed away by the infectious chorus once more.

“Turning Tables” takes the piano melodies previewed in the last track and runs with them. Adele crafts in this song a heartbroken yet hopeful ambience, with help from a light string ensemble that provides a great foundation for the song without overpowering the vocals or keys. “Turning Tables” contains some of the album's greatest vocal moments, further cementing Adele's reputation as a competent vocalist showing no signs of stopping.

While 21 is a bit top-heavy, the later tracks aren't slouches. “I'll Be Waiting” is a bouncy pop song that combines the best of Adele's soulful conventions and more modern songwriting. While most of the album carries an air of heartbreak, “I'll Be Waiting” sees the hope that can come even when a relationship has fallen apart. “He Won't Go” strays into the realm of rhythm and blues, a genre lesser artists often don't respect enough when trying their hand at it. Adele's own sensibilities, however, combine wonderfully, creating a track that's catchy while still carrying that intangible quality that makes R&B such a respected style. Later on, she once again tries her hand at covering classics of the past with her rendition of The Cure's “Lovesong.” Her unique blend of tender and passionate vocals work well with the stripped down version of the song she's crafted, using acoustic guitars, simple percussion, and the same subdued string complement found in the rest of the album to really make the song her own.

From beginning to end, 21 is a refreshing take on a modern pop album. Adele remains confident alongside the album's most heartbroken lyrics, providing an emotional range that really makes this album shine. While it fails to fully ride the tidal wave created by its first half, 21 is a collection of beautifully concocted anthems that combine Adele's retro-soul philosophy with a present-day attitude that few pop acts will be able to follow. Bring on 23.

Track Listing1. Rolling in the Deep
2. Rumor Has It
3. Turning Tables
4. Don't You Remember
5. Set Fire to the Rain
6. He Won't Go
7. Take It All
8. Ill Be Waiting
9. One & Only
10. Lovesong
11. Someone Like You


Official Website | "Rolling in the Deep" Music Video

bNz719 04/08/11 08:12 PM

Great review on a fantastic album! 'Someone Like You' remains my favorite track.

Goat01 04/08/11 08:21 PM

Adele is brilliant.
"Rumour Has It" is amazing, so is this entire record.

bandnamexmyname 04/08/11 08:31 PM

Such a good record.

Spenny 04/08/11 08:39 PM

Good review. Album of the Year so far for me.

EDIT: But how come 'Someone Like You' got no mention? Absolutely stunning ending to a fantastic album.

Jeff_Ryan 04/08/11 08:55 PM

I love her so much. 21 is my #2 for this year so far, after Tomboy

tell that mick 04/08/11 09:30 PM

Aoty

KatastrophiE 04/08/11 10:46 PM

I dont find her sexually attractive. She has a beautiful voice; great control, tone and melody, not to mention her lyrics are awesome. She just needs to be more sexually attractive.

The Minn 04/08/11 10:47 PM

Great score but I would give it a 96..it is seriously a great fucking record. Vocals 9.5? should be a 10

The Minn 04/08/11 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bNz719 (Post 87809812)
Great review on a fantastic album! 'Someone Like You' remains my favorite track.

live version > recorded version

Ian Walker 04/08/11 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87814292)
I dont find her sexually attractive. She has a beautiful voice; great control, tone and melody, not to mention her lyrics are awesome. She just needs to be more sexually attractive.

Good thing she's a musician and not a model.

The Minn 04/08/11 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87814292)
I dont find her sexually attractive. She has a beautiful voice; great control, tone and melody, not to mention her lyrics are awesome. She just needs to be more sexually attractive.

you're an idiot

sargentlgfuad 04/08/11 11:41 PM

absolute love.

KatastrophiE 04/09/11 01:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Minn (Post 87814381)
you're an idiot

and you're gay for your retarded cousin

bencoles 04/09/11 02:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87814292)
She just needs to be more sexually attractive.

Why? Explain.

Rynaldo 04/09/11 06:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ian Walker (Post 87814351)
Good thing she's a musician and not a model.

ye im kinda happy that for once the focus is just on the music

Isolated 04/09/11 06:44 AM

She's not ugly though. I think that's why a lot of people like her, music aside. She's just normal and herself.

The Minn 04/09/11 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87817441)
and you're gay for your retarded cousin

and that just proves your age and maturity. thank you for stating the obvious. in other news...water is wet.

SpyKi 04/09/11 08:13 AM

Really liking this, Set Fire To The Rain's probably my favourite.

Pugh758 04/09/11 11:09 AM

Awesome review, but how did you not mention "Someone Like You"? Hands down the best song on the album.

Ryan Gardner 04/09/11 12:11 PM

Really good review, Ian. Love "Set Fire To Rain" but that's the only track that stuck with me.

KatastrophiE 04/09/11 12:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Minn (Post 87820271)
and that just proves your age and maturity. thank you for stating the obvious. in other news...water is wet.

And that proves that you take everything a bit too seriously. Pull the stick from out your ass

The Minn 04/09/11 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87826621)
And that proves that you take everything a bit too seriously. Pull the stick from out your ass

this will be my last post on this particular topic. your OP was talking about how much you enjoy Adele but she is too fat and needs to be sexy and all that jazz. after my reply you told me I should sleep with my mom or something with my retarded cousin? and you come back with I take things too seriously and I should pull the stick from my ass. I mean really, do I even need to comment? No I shouldn't. You're just a fucking idiot that needs to grow up, no matter what age. If you think you're cool go for it. clap clap blah blah. You're a fucking idiot. You told an amazing artist she needs to lose weight so you could probably ravish her: you're a fucking idiot. Reply back. I won't.

highfidelity203 04/10/11 07:32 AM

Love this album, this will easily be in my top ten for sure.

KatastrophiE 04/10/11 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Minn (Post 87844932)
this will be my last post on this particular topic. your OP was talking about how much you enjoy Adele but she is too fat and needs to be sexy and all that jazz. after my reply you told me I should sleep with my mom or something with my retarded cousin? and you come back with I take things too seriously and I should pull the stick from my ass. I mean really, do I even need to comment? No I shouldn't. You're just a fucking idiot that needs to grow up, no matter what age. If you think you're cool go for it. clap clap blah blah. You're a fucking idiot. You told an amazing artist she needs to lose weight so you could probably ravish her: you're a fucking idiot. Reply back. I won't.

ah yes. The elitist jerk that lacks your basic reading comprehension skills. I see you a lot around here. Why am I responding when my response will go unread? Well, because it wont. You're predictable, boring and everything I despise in this world. Oh, I never called her fat, that one's on you, you judgmental dickface. Typical christian behavior, crafting and trusting the competency of an ill-advised conclusion based off assumptions and made up facts. Go fuck yourself.

joshy hizzle 04/11/11 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87876211)
ah yes. The elitist jerk that lacks your basic reading comprehension skills. I see you a lot around here. Why am I responding when my response will go unread? Well, because it wont. You're predictable, boring and everything I despise in this world. Oh, I never called her fat, that one's on you, you judgmental dickface. Typical christian behavior, crafting and trusting the competency of an ill-advised conclusion based off assumptions and made up facts. Go fuck yourself.


you're a pretty big douche.

fna4 04/12/11 01:11 AM

Uh I don't know if your researched this album at all but the same people that are writing hooks for the artists you criticized also write Adele's hooks. Ex: Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth

KatastrophiE 04/12/11 02:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joshy hizzle (Post 87901582)
you're a pretty big douche.

only if you're a douche

Gautz 04/12/11 09:10 AM

Wasn't going to bother checking this out, but after reading this review I'll defo give it a listen!

ChelseaRiane 04/12/11 09:11 AM

Gah, I adore her.

Someone Like You is my favorite

The Minn 04/12/11 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KatastrophiE (Post 87876211)
ah yes. The elitist jerk that lacks your basic reading comprehension skills. I see you a lot around here. Why am I responding when my response will go unread? Well, because it wont. You're predictable, boring and everything I despise in this world. Oh, I never called her fat, that one's on you, you judgmental dickface. Typical christian behavior, crafting and trusting the competency of an ill-advised conclusion based off assumptions and made up facts. Go fuck yourself.

ha ha ha. i read it. and you're still an idiot =) and even more a douche

CircaSin 04/12/11 10:29 PM

you guys have image issues. With a voice like that, I'll make her baby.

stevenisfading 04/13/11 07:11 AM

Glad that Turning Tables got a mention seeing as how you left out SLY and SFTTR which are both easily the highlights of the album.

Good review. Glad she's having huge success in the U.S.

Dookie1 04/13/11 07:37 AM

Like her voice, just don't like the genre.

radicalrilee 04/13/11 12:02 PM

I adore this album very much. Just wondering why Someone Like You or even Set Fire To The Rain never got a mention... otherwise, great review! Her voice is amazing. This woman deserves all the recognition in the world.

Sancho10 04/14/11 12:14 PM

Only $8 at HMV:-)

amii_G 04/24/11 01:53 PM

Wonderful review, although I can't remember if AP always write up reviews months after the albums are released? ;)

'Set Fire to the Rain' and 'Don't You Remember' are personal favourites, but the whole thing is beautiful.

Kelly Doherty 04/29/11 01:35 PM

Absolutely beautiful album. No matter how many times I hear Someone Like You, it still makes me feel emotional.. :) And the Cure cover is perfect! :9:

Alligator Blood 07/17/11 12:38 PM

Sometimes pop music can be great. This is one of those cases.