Adele – 21

May 1, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Posted in Adele | Leave a comment

ALBUM REVIEW
Adele – 21

1. Rolling In The Deep
2. Rumour 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. I’ll Be Waiting
9. One And Only
10. Lovesong
11. Someone Like You

♦ ♦ ♦

21 is the second album by English singer Adele, released on January 19, 2011. The album was very well received by both critics and the public, landed at the #1 spot in 28 countries worldwide. Globally, 21 is the best-selling album of the past decade according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry with 8,64 million copies sold in the US only as of April 2012.

So yeah we all know how amazingly well this album did… But no wonder since it already starts with a splash hit: Rolling In The Deep. I both sang lead and background for this song multiple times so I know it by heart, but I came to enjoy it even more because of that. The song is perfection at its best, a bit melancholic, but the music is amazingly vintage and dark, bluesy gospel which works really well with her raspy vocals.

It took me some time to get used to Rumour Has It, especially the chorus, but I actually like it now. It has a great kick-drum driven vibe and just like in Rolling In The Deep Adele incorporated dark American blues in the song which again sets the tone of the entire album perfectly. I love how things slow down and get really foreboding in the bridge with the amazing piano melody.

I can’t review Turning Tables without getting really honest here because this song means so much to me. I think everyone can identify with this song at one point in their lives, it’s so filled with emotion and heartbreak, not only in the music but also in the lyrics. Musically, the strings and piano melody carry so much emotion and sadness. When it comes to the lyrics, the chorus is the highlight when Adele sings ‘So I won’t let you close enough to hurt me […] It’s time to say goodbye to turning tables‘. Adele tackles the high notes and jazzy vocal acrobatics with flair.

There’s a change in the album when Don’t You Remember comes along. Instead of dark blues about anger or defensiveness, here’s an acoustic song in a bit of a country style about heartbreak and reflection after Adele grew ashamed of the negative portrayal of her ex (and I can totally understand that). The song builds from just an acoustic guitar song into something very strong after the second chorus, when Adele starts to belt out her lyrics accompanied by a growing arrangement of percussion, strings and more guitars. I didn’t know this song yet but damn, I love it.

Set Fire To The Rain is a darker song again, about not being able to let go. When it comes to her vocals, this song displays Adeles vocals at their absolute best with a lot of dramatic ambiences, belting and especially in the chorus some raw notes. The music is especially made more dramatic by the beautiful strings and crescendos. The song is close to being a pop rock power ballad, but I think it’s so much more than that.

I like how He Won’t Go opens with more of an R&B vibe and a lot of riffs by all the instruments in the chorus. The piano melody was the best about the entire arrangement, it was very pretty. Adele kept her vocals in control this time, displaying some amazing vocal acrobatics still but never overexaggerating her tone and belting. Near the end, a lovely harp comes in to complete the track. Another great new track.

From the start, Take It All heavily screams ‘gospel’, but then at its very best. I’m not a typical gospel lover, but Adele just made me one. The song is all piano driven so it focuses on Adele’s beautiful and soulful vocals above all, and I totally get goosebumps when the background choir comes in during the chorus. For the first time she uses pitchy vocals in the bridge and I’m suprised she can even pull that off next to her raw belting. You just took it all, Adele.

I’m a bit surprised here by the overall optimistic tone of I’ll Be Waiting when it comes to the music. It’s very jazzy with a lot of brass instruments and at this point it was exactly what the album needed between the more melancholy and emotional songs. It’s extremely addictive thanks to that amazing brass section and also to a very catchy singing melody in the chorus. Surprisingly amazing.

One And Only is a bit like Take It All, very gospel-like piano driven music and even more soulful vocals by Adele so I’d say this track is a little stronger. It’s mostly very compelling soul music until the organ and choir drop in and the gospel feeling starts to come. It’s the longest track on the album but a song like this needs its time to be awesome, let’s be honest now. I love how Adele takes gospel to a new level with this wonderful track.

Lovesong has a lighter tone to both the music and Adeles vocals. We’ve had the raspy vocals and brassy, bombastic music, now let’s get back to the relaxed acoustic guitar driven lounge music with some soft strings accompanying everything in the background. I have the strange feeling I’ve heard this song before, so that means it appealed to me in some way and stayed in my mind. It’s just a nice relaxed tune to balance off the album.

The entire album works up to this song, the center piece of everything and probably Adele’s magnum opus: Someone Like You. It’s another song that means ‘identification’ for me (so I instantly like it a little more ofcourse), and for Adele it’s definitely a summation of herself dealing with her breakup. The lyrics are pretty emotional and so is her singing, almost coming to a near-shrieking whisper before regaining her composure again. I love that vocal technique, although I like her live performance a little better when she tackles that part in a lower voice. The best lyrics of the album: ‘Never mind I’ll find someone like you, I wish nothing but the best for you too. Don’t forget me, I beg, I remember you said “Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”.’

Lemme get something straight here. I KNOW this album did extremely well, ‘Someone Like You‘ is like the most played song in radio history, you see Adele’s face everywhere, everyone at my school wants to sing her songs such as ‘Fire To The Rain‘ and ‘Rolling In The Deep‘, the album got like double Diamond and 10x Platinum in may countries… But that’s definitely for a reason! I have to admit, I’m a believer, I have become a fan of Adele’s thanks to this album. Every single song is a piece of art, exploring many musical genres such as gospel, soul, indie pop and even a little bit of hiphop and contemporary R&B. She amazed me, I have become one of the cliché persons that love this album to death♥

Favorite tracks: Rolling In The Deep | Turning Tables | Don’t You Remember | Set Fire To The Rain | One And Only | Someone Like You

OVERALL RATING

5 stars

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