Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Record label: XL
Genre(s): R&B, Soul, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Adele Adkins' retro-soul debut, 19, was striking less for her songs than for that voice: a voluptuous, slightly parched alto that swooped and fluttered like a Dusty Springfield student trying to upstage her teacher, or at least update the rules. Now that she's legal — 21 refers to her age when she wrote these songs — Adele has toughened her tone, trimmed the jazz frippery and sounds ready for a pub fight. "Go ahead and sell me out/And I'll lay your shit bare," she promises an ex-lover on "Rolling in the Deep," a soul burner with hand claps and a kick drum whumping like a fist on a sandbag.
Pop stars do many things so expertly these days — cross-pollinate with rappers, prance on cotton candy clouds, wear dresses made of perishable proteins — that the quality of the singing itself can often feel like a footnote. At 22, London-bred Adele Adkins is a more old-fashioned kind of girl. Her 2008 debut, 19, earned her two Grammys, including Best New Artist, for a sound that owed much more to the full-throated ardor of Etta and Ella than any pitch-corrected contemporary.
We're led to believe by critics that at any given time there are a number of musical revolutions taking place. Every individual niche is sticking it to some other niche, willingly or not. You've got to wonder if this is the natural endpoint for criticism – if, at this point, a critic must make comparisons or else point out the opposites in order to get people to listen – or if there really is so little musical originality now that comparisons have simply become inevitable.
Ahh, the wisdom that comes with old age. British alt-soul prodigy Adele Adkins’ debut, 19, was stunning in spots, earning both a watchful eye from critics and a should-have-been-huger hit single, “Chasing Pavements,” that perfectly demonstrates what makes her offbeat charm so appealing: a panache for gigantic hooks strung together in melismatic webs of old-school vigor; an instrumentally-dense arrangement equally referencing big-band and indie-rock; and most importantly—that voice. Oh, God, that voice: a raspy, aged-beyond-its-years thing of full-blooded beauty.
Brit School alumna Adele’s debut, 19, was a whirlwind success which topped the chart in her homeland and achieved the relatively rare feat of breaking the British singer in the US. As one of a string of UK soul singers who benefitted from ‘post-Winehouse’ success towards the end of the last decade, Adele notched up several hits including Hometown Glory, Chasing Pavements and Cold Shoulder. Thanks to massive exposure on this year’s X Factor (UK), her cover of Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love appears to have taken up residency in the UK singles chart and is approaching sales of half a million copies.
Two years (and a bit) on from 19, Adele Adkins comes of age sounding as wise beyond her years as she did in 2008. While 19 detailed the end of a relationship with "an idiot", 21 is about the end of something great. There's cheating, jealously, joy and heartbreak contained within; all stripped into shape by a galactico squad sheet of producers – starting with Rick Rubin and Ryan Tedder and working down to current British studio darlings Paul Epworth and Fraser T Smith.
With the expectation that 21 would blow us even further into the spaces of Adele’s left-hung-to-dry heart, it only slightly fails. Her sound is undeniably more mature than what you would typically expect from a 21-year-old, but tracks like “Don’t You Remember” make you wonder if the overall vibe is more mature than it should be. That being said, her voice has enough power, pain, blues and grit that even a small miss marks her above most of the rest.
Adele's 2009 debut album, 19, was a Grammy-winning smash hit that revealed the British singer/songwriter's knack for bittersweet soul and folk-infused love songs that brought to mind an infectious mix of Dusty Springfield and Terry Callier. The album earned her a ton of fans, and interest was high for the inevitable follow-up. In many ways, her sophomore album, the similarly age-appropriate-titled 21, is a continuation of the sounds and themes Adele was working with on 19.
Review Summary: Love is all you need. Apparently.A week is a long time in politics and two years in the music industry nowadays can be akin to something Buck Rogers would have experienced. Since the release and subsequent peals of acclaim from critics and consumers alike of her debut LP 19 her contemporaries have fallen away. Amy Winehouse disappeared in a haze of smoke, Lily Allen took the money and ran whilst Kate Nash and Duffy dropped off the radar after two poorly received second albums.
ADELE plays Kool Haus on May 18. See listing. Rating: NNN There's a maturity in 22-year-old British singer Adele Adkins's voice that belies her youth. Her second record sounds like it was written by someone three times her age and shouldering a lifetime's worth of heartbreak.. The groove and ….
Adele has spent the last four years fighting her way out of Amy Winehouse’s beehived shadow, but it’s only in the last few weeks that she’s made a credible bid for her own place in the upper tier of female pop singers. As anyone who follows British radio will tell you, Adele has emerged as a contemporary master of the breakup song: On the gorgeous “Someone Like You” she summons the strength to move on, while the super-charged pop-gospel number “Rolling in the Deep” finds her confronting an ex-lover with the wrath of the righteous. Adele’s sophomore effort, 21, was released overseas late last month, and thanks to those singles, it has yet to cede the #1 spot on the U.K.
More often than not, the best writing comes out of moments of distress and depression. The easiest way to deal with that kind of pain is just write it all down, purge your system as best you can, and then hopefully move past it with little damage to your liver or nervous system. In the hands of some of the best lyricists, these mental excretions can become some of the most heartfelt, heart wrenching, and heart stopping songs.
Among the diverse crop of 21st century female pop stars, perhaps none feels more purely and simply worth rooting for than Adele. A precociously talented young woman with a big voice but a refreshingly non-showy way of putting it on display and a songwriter with a firm sense of classic pop composition, Adele’s 2008 debut 19 (the title a reference to her age at the time of writing the album) broke through on the strength of such likeable and solidly crafted singles as “Chasing Pavements” and “Cold Shoulder”. Though not especially indebted to any genre or era in particular, these song’s mildly soulful inflections got Adele slotted alongside the much more outwardly retro likes of Amy Winehouse and Duffy in a rush to identify a thriving new British soul movement—one that probably owes much of its initial commercial investment to the success, earlier in the decade, of such tastefully “adult” young artists like Joss Stone, Norah Jones and Alicia Keys, who filled the chasm left by the Britney era’s alienation of grown-up listeners.
Genuinely brilliant second album from the London singer. Ian Wade 2011 One of the few real beneficiaries of The X Factor effect – her version of Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love has been darting about the top 40 since the audition rounds, showing more staying power than poor Joe McElderry’s last two singles combined – Adele’s stock has risen significantly since becoming the first recipient of the Brits Critics’ Choice award. Since then she’s picked up Grammys and broken the States as a bonus, so the pressure was clearly on for her next move to deliver big.