Edge

Adele’s latest tunes sound bloody brilliant

Courtesy ukmix.org

In order to appraise “21,” the latest album from British singer Adele, I’m going to use terminology from my international studies classes. Forgive me, readers, and please bear with me.

First we have the thesis: Adele, a preternaturally talented singer-songwriter whose voice seems to have been stolen from the era of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Adele is frequently compared to Amy Winehouse and Duffy, a not entirely inappropriate assessment, though Adele would appear to have the best voice of the three. She sings of love and heartbreak in staggeringly mature terms, and her lyrics possess a depth way beyond her 22 years.

Then we have the antithesis: Taylor Swift. This might be an unfair comparison- Swift is, of course, of a different genre than Adele, but they are similar in age and song content. When compared to Adele, Swift’s songs sound like they were stolen from a junior-high slam book à la “Mean Girls.” When Swift wants to send a kiss-off to a former paramour, she trashes him by name in the travesty that is “Dear John.” When Adele wants to do the same, she does it in the dazzling “Someone Like You.”

Match point: Adele.

Adele sticks to two types of songs, the frenetic pop perfected on her debut album, “19,” and heartrending ballads. On “21,” the up-tempo songs are fantastic – “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumor Has It” are particularly noteworthy – but the ballads are works of true genius.

“Someone Like You” ran is certainly one of the best “encounters with an ex” songs ever written, and it ranks among the best songs of the past few years in general.

Adele also brings new life to old standards like The Cure’s “Lovesong” and Brandi Carlile’s “Hiding My Heart.” She has a knack for doing fantastic covers – see her version of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” as evidence – but her versions of “Lovesong” and “Hiding My Heart” are simply on a new level.

My one criticism of “21” is that when listened to in one sitting, songs seem to blend into one another, but it is a minor flaw. To take a line from Dave Eggers, “21” is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius. Bloody brilliant work, Adele.

Sarah B. Pilchick may be contacted at sbpilchick@themiamihurricane.com.


Rating: 3.5/4 stars

Release Date: Feb. 22, 2011

Producers: Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, Jim Abbiss, Fraser T. Smith, Ryan Tedder, Dan Wilson

Label: XL, Columbia

February 23, 2011

Reporters

Sarah B. Pilchick

Senior EDGE Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

UM dining services team earns national recognition for special event catering. ...

From hammerheads to great whites, University of Miami researcher Neil Hammerschlag is a dedicated sp ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

Miami senior Tyler Gauthier was named to the 2018 Fall Watch List for the Rimington Trophy presented ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.