In 2008 she released a critically acclaimed freshman album titled “19″ – her age at the time – starring classical hits such as Hometown Glory, Cold Shoulder and Chasing Pavements. As a result she even earned two Grammys in 2009, but many thought she will fade into the background after as it seems to be the norm with many artists who have had successful first albums. However, British songstress Adele has managed to silence her critics with yet another banger of an album.
A lot has happened in Adele’s life in the past three years, her sound has matured, her writing has progressed and she went through a break-up, which is the core of her second album “21″.
On this record Adele sounds like a manic-depressive, she is cold the one minute and hot the other, she’s a train wreck, she is pissed and I like it. Cut after cut Adele takes us on her journey throughout the break-up. 21 is full of so much emotion, complemented by Adele soulful vocals. Adele will leave you filled with mixed emotions from anger to sorrow and even resignation, but never disappointed.
The 11-track album exudes Adele’s versatility, fusing blues, country, soul, pop and gospel. Adele co-wrote all the songs on the album, with the exception of The Cure cover “Lovesong”. The maturity of the lyrics on each and every track on the album gives one a feeling of surrealism when you consider that they were written by a 21-year old. This is what sets Adele apart from all the pop princesses of today, who always opt for frivolous lyrics.
There are three highlights on the album. The first is piano-themed “Rolling in the Deep”, which is accompanied by powerful chants in the background. The lyrics are as raw as they can get and reeks of a jilted young lady. With lyrics such as “The scars of your love, remind me of us.
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all. The scars of your love, they leave me breathless “, there is no doubt in one’s mind that our protagonist is ragging with anger.
“Rumour has it” is another highlight on 21. The song was produced by OneRepublic’s lead singer Ryan Tedder. Adele is very cocky on this one as she sings “She, she ain’t real, she ain’t gonna be able to love you like I will, she is a stranger, you and I have history”. This track has a very high beat.
Then of course, there is the subtle piano balled “Someone Like You”, which is very reminiscent of “Hometown Glory”. Much like “Hometown Glory” this track just let Adele’s powerful voice speaks for themselves, and as a result it sends shivers down one’s spine. Adele let it all rip and shows how vulnerable the break-up left her feeling. As she sings “I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited, but I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it. I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over”, you cannot help but feel sorry for her. This is a very relatable song.
21 was released on 24 January in the UK, selling 208,000 copies in the first week, thus debuting at No.1 on the albums chart and has been holding onto that spot ever since – for four consecutive weeks to be exact. After Adele performed of the second single off the album “Someone Like You” at the Brit Awards, the song subsequently topped the UK Singles Chart, serving as Adele’s first No.1 single in the UK. Adele also broke records for becoming the first living artist since The Beatles in 1964 to have two top five hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the UK Album Chart simultaneously.
The album has since been certified double-platinum. 21 has also topped albums chart in Germany, Denmark and Ireland. The album was released in the US earlier this week, and is expected to top the Billboard Albums Chart too.
21 reaffirms that Adele is a gem to the to music industry and has the potential to unleash into one of the legendary female vocalists we have ever seen.