Even though Adele has been marketed in the crowded pop space, there was something deeper about her that struck me immediately upon hearing “Rolling in the Deep”, the huge single from the album. My wife and I checked out the rest of the album in passing a while back, and a few tracks had clear potential. My wife wanted the album, so last week I gladly used some Zune credits I had and got it for her. Gave it a few listens for myself, and wow. A great record.
There are a few female acts that for me have been continuously releasing strong material – Aimee Mann, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple – and Adele is quickly right up there with the rest of them. The album is a great mix of upbeat toe tappers and more melancholy crooners, all of which are crafted and performed straight from the heart. I like to think that the common element across the variety of music I like is a commitment the artists put into the music. And Adele clearly commits to each song and each performance. She leaves it all on the ones and zeros.
A lot has been written about the breakups that led to the development of each of Adele’s records, so I wont go into it here, but it’s clear that she’s putting a lot of feeling into it. Haven’t heard “19” (her first record) yet, but I’ll need to check it out and expect the same level of emotion.
This is a well crafted album from start to finish, just the right mix of slower and speedier tracks, all of which work together. Deeper album standouts are “He Won’t Go”, “I’ll be Waiting” and the Cure cover “Lovesong”. There are shades of an edgier Fiona Apple at times, I hear some of the type of passion you’d expect from a Lauren Hill record and her voice is at times reminiscent of Janis Joplin. The band behind her is tight and provides a worthy soundtrack that compliments but doesn’t overshadow what is clearly the focus here – Adele’s vocals. The music is a nice coctail of blues and upbeat jazz that somehow never feels as old as the roots of those genres.
If you only know Adele from the radio and you like what you’ve heard, check this record out, it will not disappoint.