Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adele is about to release her much-anticipated follow-up to her 2008 album 19.  After becoming an international sensation (a magical appearance on Saturday Night Live locking-down the US market) the aptly-titled 21 is soaked in high expectations.  

She traveled to the States to record the new album, referencing Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's 2008 collaboration Raising Sand among her inspirations for this rollicking, Americana-infused album.  While totally on-brand, it is a departure from her first, more squeaky-clean record.  This one feels a little raw, a little rough, a little frayed at its edges.  It's a breakup album of grand proportions.

The first single ("Rolling in the Deep") opens the album, all bombastic, hand-clappy, go-fuck-yourself-Asshole.  But smooth and without bitterness, it doesn't feel whiny.  It's a call to arms, a clear warning to him (and, thus, everyone) that she's not to be messed with.  A snare-drum-as-hand-gun ushers in the next track ("Rumor Has It"), continuing along the same lines, anthemic and aggressive.  But where Sinead O'Connor (for example) sounded straight-up-angry, Adele's voice oozes vulnerability and depth beyond rage.  In "Set Fire to the Rain" she sings "My hands, they're strong, but my knees were far too weak to stand in your arms without falling to your feet,": the perfect synopsis to any classic no-fault breakup.  

The album covers a lot of territory: piano/voice balladry, Southern Baptist happy-clappy, blues, folksy singer-songwriter - Every style suiting her perfectly, never put-on or false.  At the risk of sounding effusive: It's a perfect album.  

If you get a chance to see her live, don't miss it.  She's funny and charming, surprisingly light.  She sings with her hands in that way that makes you understand the song better.  Emotional sign language.


  1. we've been listening to "rolling in the deep" a lot lately.
    it's great.

  2. how awesome is this new album?!?!?! my pals in the UK leaked it to me. it is so, so, so GREAT!

  3. I'm thinking maybe I should download her first album first? I'm so behind. I like what I've heard, though.

  4. ooh I must go. itching for a good concert lately.

  5. I looooooove this album so much.

  6. "emotional sign language" : Genius phrase to describe her show.

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