A couple weeks ago I did a piece on Grammy winners for Best New Artists from the past decade or so. I was surprised to be reminded that Adele won that award two years ago because I feel like we haven't heard much from her since "Chasing Pavements". Coincidental timing: Adele released her second full-length album this past week, "21", which followed her first album ("19"); the album titles represent the ages she was when she wrote the songs on them. Wow, what a little overachiever! I'm sure everyone is anxiously awaiting my debut album entitled "20 - 40".
After spending the week listening to Adele, I can officially say I am a fan. I can also say it's hard to believe she's only 21 (well, 22 at this point) because she sounds much more mature than anyone I know who is around that age. She has a really rich, soulful voice that reminds me a bit of Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone or Susan Tedeschi. Critics have said that her vocal talent is more advanced than her songwriting, and she has agreed with that assessment. Her raspy sound is helped by the fact that she is a chain smoker, which is a concern. Another sign of maturity: she's already given up drinking after recognizing that she was doing way too much of it. Wow, most people don't do that until they're much older!
This album has a mix of slower and more energetic songs, and I definitely tend to like the livelier ones better. You can't help but tap your foot or walk to the beat of her first big hit, "Rolling in the Deep" or the second track on the album, "Rumour Has It". Other favorites were "He Won't Go", "I'll Be Waiting" and "One and Only". Even though it's slower, I liked "Take It All", which sounds like she's being backed by a gospel choir. The only song I really didn't like was her remake of The Cure's "Lovesong". That song was so beautiful in its original version that I kind of feel like it shouldn't be messed with. Overall the album is great, and other must agree since it's #1 on iTunes right now.
Lots of fun facts about Adele now: she was a high school classmate with Leona Lewis, and she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live in 2008 when Sarah Palin hosted, making it one of the highest rated SNL shows ever and really boosting her popularity in the U.S. She's also very, very British, to the point that I couldn't understand what she was saying in an interview I watched. It always fascinates me that such accents largely disappear when the artists are singing. I guess being British isn't really a fun fact, but it makes her slightly more interesting in my book.
Here is the video for "Rolling in the Deep", a song you have probably heard on the radio. Enjoy!