Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adele - A Dazzling Sophomore Album...

British soul singer Adele, whose 2008 debut album 19 featured such well-received songs as "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder" hits it out of the park with her sophomore disc, 21. The songs chronicle the singer's personal journey after a breakup. It's a confessional album filled with dazzling songs and emotional performances. Several producers, including Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder and Paul Epworth guide her through such beautiful songs as "Someone Like You" and "Don't You Remember." Adele's vocals are heart-wrenching & tender, but have a toughness that shines through on tracks like the hit "Rolling in the Deep."

While the main style on display is soul, there are hints of jazz, rock & even country (a genre Adele has acknowledged as an influence in recent interviews). The songs are roughly structured to mirror the range of emotions Adele felt after her breakup. Tracks like "One And Only," "Set Fire To The Rain" and a tender cover of "Lovesong" by The Cure display her versatility. Adele wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the disc (except the aforementioned remake), and the lyrics display a maturity far beyond her 21 years. The introspective themes of these songs (and her amazing vocals) truly make you experience the pain, sadness and (finally) redemption that she feels as the disc comes to a close.

This is simply one of the best discs of the year., and it grows even better with repeated listens. Like many releases these days, a variety of retailers have different versions of the album (with live cuts, bonus tracks and the like), but the Amazon link to the main album is as follows: http://www.amazon.com/21-Adele/dp/B004EBT5CU. This is a must have for any fan of soulful, emotional music.

The artist's blog was a source for this review, and is worth a look as well: http://www.adele.tv/blog. And here's a link to a live performance of "Set Fire To The Rain." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pufx9Cq_TOQ&feature=related, from Later With Jools Holland.

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