With the cacophony of elaborate costumes, auto-tuning, rehab stints, and ghost composers riddling the contemporary music industry, soul vocal phenomenon Adele is a breath of fresh air.[firstpara] Armed with a deep, sensual voice akin to Etta Jones’, the Grammy-winning singer’s influence isn’t stopping on one album just yet.
Adele’s record-breaking sophomore release 21 continues to top charts all over the world (including the Billboard 200), even bumping a couple of heavy hitters like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga to bottom positions.
Search Twitter-related posts about Adele and something new will pop up every one minute, with each saying how much they “love” the album. Not bad for a record that’s been out since February.
Maybe it’s the gut-clenching honesty of her lyrics, or her sassy, soulful tone that single-handedly erased the hype over Amy Winehouse?
It’s definitely the package of telling a coherent story from start to finish.
21 is a collection of 11 songs inspired by an estranged lover in the singer’s past who caused nothing but confusion and pain. Yes, a whole record dedicated to an ex who toyed her feelings and as the hit "Rolling in the Deep" suggests, played her heart to the beat. The dynamic hit, also written by Bloc Party and Friendly Fires member Paul Epworth, should be enough to immortalize this album.
But the remaining 10 tracks are as impeccable and memory-tugging. The album plays on soft jazz, blues, folk and soul tones, magnifying Adele’s musicality and chest-melting voice. For many, 21 is like a heartbreak diary, with enrapturing songs and play-pause-rewind-skip button controls.
Filled with compelling ballads, candid lyrics and lullaby melodies, it’s no wonder 21 remains one of the most celebrated albums of the year.
Imagine being in the middle of an ill-fated relationship that’s impossible to get over. That’s the vibe of 21, minus the psychopathic scheme exchange between the lovers. From the complicated stage of the relationship to the perils of seeing “the replacement,” Adele’s heartbreaking lyrics got it all covered.
"Taking It All" describes the last moments of the turbulent union “It's going to be an empty road without me right here/ don't look back at this crumbling fool/ just take it all. Maybe I should leave to help you see/ nothing is better than this”.
The empowering ballad "Turning Tables" is the perfect background for an emotionally-tiring relationship, saying “I can't keep up with your turning tables/ under your thumb, I can't breathe.” Playfully-titled "Set Fire to the Rain" is a power ballad with high notes and equally effective lyrics; “I set fire to the rain/ watched it pour as I touched your face.”
Tribal drum beat-paced "Rumor Has It" tells the story of a revelation each despairing woman is dreaming about: “she made your heart melt but you're cold to the core… now rumor has it, she ain't got your love anymore”.
Piano ballad "Someone Like You," the most emotionally-ripping track co-written by Semisonic’s Dan Wilson, chants the last news anyone would want to hear when holding on to a broken relationship. “I heard you're settled down/ that you found a girl and you're married now/ I guess she gave things I didn’t give to you… never mind I’ll find someone like you.”
"He Won’t Go," one of the most upbeat songs in the album, is furnished with groovy bass lines and smooth vocal attacks, and it’s hard to imagine it’s actually a sad song. "If It Hadn’t Been for Love" has an old soulful folk and jazz feel, the perfect kind of tone for Adele’s sensational vocal range, while the bluesy last track "I Found A Boy" is the feeling one gets after winning a battle and a glass of wine.
It’s a shocker of triumph in all aspects, “So stand beside the river I cried and let yourself down, look how you want me now that I don't need you.” Adele’s cover of The Cure classic "Lovesong" is a pleasant surprise, though the lyrics don’t quite fit into the scenario the singer has established from the first track.
With the relatability of the songs in 21, it’s no wonder why women, men, and even teenagers subliminally post Adele’s songs on social media sites day in and day out. The entire album is like a collection of scenes straight out of a romantic comedy with a sad ending, or your Facebook wall. All detached cynics and scoffers must be thinking “why can’t relationship drama always be this good?”