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


ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Adele’s latest tunes sound bloody brilliant”

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

Five years and two days after being fired as FIU’s football coach, at least one report declares form ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

The Hurricanes and Colonials square off at noon Saturday in Washington, D.C. ...

University of Miami men's basketball player Chris Stowell is an active member in the Hurricanes ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

TMH Twitter Feed
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.