Gloria Gaynor meets Dusty Sprigfield, soulful british white girl, bringing empowerment and strength to a failed relationship.
Adele has one of the best, sexiest, saddest, most powerful and soulful voices in music today. She was rewarded for that fact when he debut album, 19, was commercially successful, with grammy awards and a performance on Saturday Night Live. Indie lovers and soccer moms could both find something to love in Adele, that voice crosses boundaries.
Adele’s sophomore release, 21, will only bring her a larger fan base with a diverse but fitting group of producers and songwriters helping Adele share her heartbreak and soul. Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder, and Greg Wells are some of the writers/producers on the LP, and the mix of mainstream ballad pop, country, soul, and hints of Motown all complement her voice warmly. The album can be played in full, not always the case in today’s music industry, especially with breakup/ballad driven albums, but this album can be, the use of various writers and producers working alongside Adele allow the album to feel diverse but still a whole, an album. It could be up there on my break up album list too, alongside the best such as Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine and Joni Mitchell’s ultimate break up album, Blue.
As previously mentioned though, Dusty Springfield and Gloria Gaynor can be referenced when thinking of Adele, powerful, soulful voices. Springfield, also british, bringing rich americana soul to her music just as Adele does, and Gaynor’s ability to stand up in “I Will Survive” and be strong in the face of a break up, just as Adele sounds in dance remixes of her songs.
“Rolling In The Deep” starts the album off perfectly. Thumping, tribal (like Lykke Li’s “Get Some”?) and ready to let out the pain of the breakup, releasing her voice to announce that they could’ve had it all. Ryan Tedder’s “Rumour Has It” brings a little Motown with ooohhs in the backing vocals, and Adele proves not every word has to be pushed to an extreme to prove a voice is beautiful and strong, she does not have notes lasting for days like Aguilera would, but that voice still remains unmistakably powerful. Tedder proves that he can do more than “Halo” and other basic Tedder-sounding mainstream pop. Rubin’s production allows more americana and folky country sounds that could bring her into a category with Dixie Chick’s last effort, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. “Set Fire To The Rain” brings mainstream possibilities with Fraser Smith contributing (credits from Taio Cruz to Ellie Goulding) and creating a harsh but dignified break up about a man messing with Adele. “He Won’t Go” is jazzier than other songs, with a simple and effective message, Adele won’t go. “I’ll Be Waiting Is The Most sunshine-filled cut, with a hopeful Adele winning back her man. The Cure’s “Lovesong” is refreshed and stripped to a sexy slow burning number, and “Someone Like You” proves to be one of the best tracks, with a unique look at a one saying that no, they are not over the other, and will look for someone like them. Bitter sweet, catchy, and unique, I hope this is a single and would love to hear remixes of it.
Adele has a powerful voice that draws you in. She makes you feel her pain and her joy. 21 is one of the first contenders for best albums of 2011.