Yesterday is the first time I’ve even ever heard an Adele song. I’m now kicking the tires and checking the oil on 21 and trying to get underneath what the buzz is all about. I’m searching frantically for the best album releases for 2011. The major music magazines, such as Rolling Stone and Billboard, are all saying it’s an easy pick. Adele’s 21 is at the top of the Biggies’ list! Why so?
I’m always slow to accept a new artist, since so many are ground up instantly into gagging bologna in the wink of a witch’s evil eye! The first thing I do to see if there’s plastic or fool’s gold in the smokin’ tracks, is to look for any filler in the record. You know, the fluff sides that bring the minute count of the album at nearly one hour.
The Art of clever filler is one that my seasoned ear can detect in just a minute. There’s no filler on 21, I will proclaim proudly. I’m listening to He Won’t Go now; staccato, jumpy passages with a soulful vocal. Slow-build with a sharp chorus. Interesting bridge, great harmonies, with Adele over-dubbing on herself.
My favorite track for now is Turning Tables. Simple subtle arrangements, some strings and lots of acoustic piano. Vocals are never buried in the mix. Bass is inaudible. Adele’s voice is amazing. Hearing some Bonnie Raitt and a little Amy Winehouse. Yea, very British; smooth as silk at times, then brassy and rum-soaked at other times.The key here is lots of feeling.
You never switch channels. Just let the songs play. Don’t You Remember is dazzling, flows right into Set Fire To the Rain, which could just as easily have been the hit single (as Rolling in the Deep). Set Fire will go over big at your Discotheques (I know, they don’t exist anymore; having an Austin Powers moment!) and dance bars (or whatever type of nightclubs young people haunt these days). Adele’s gut-wrenching vocal cords blasting out of a good stereo will work in just about any setting!
Someone Like You is the album tearjerker, a heart-stopper, and a triumphant pop-hit to boot. You share in Adele’s hurt and pain as she works her way through a broken relationship, where she cherishes the memories of good times, but recognizes she must move on and let the past go. But it won’t, the residue of passion and undermined commitment ripples out from her struggling, inner-gnashing spirit (that demands healing reconciliation), channeling through her enchanting voice.
Yea, I’m slow to accept new artists, yet I’m coming around with Adele. That’s because she is a genuine talent. Writes her own songs about real events in her life. Her singing is perhaps some of the best I’ve ever heard, and that’s not simple rattling rhapsody to get on the bandwagon of Adele’s surging popularity! Well maybe a little bit, but who doesn’t see what’s going on here? *(And who doesn’t want to be on the side of freshly realized success?)
My only fear is that Adele will be torn up by the media machine, which is already grabbing her up and testing her for the horse-glue factory, where the has-been Kentucky Derby winners always end up. A parcel of Elmers for a thumpy pip-squeak trouble-maker pasting moldy clippings in a scrapbook that no one will ever see. But millions will see Adele in the March issue of Vogue. Yet, who cares! Stick with the creation and production of your miraculous music, Adele. This is your strength; leave the fashion-plate genesis for Lady Gaga.