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

About Author

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

University of Miami middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman’s ultimate goal has always been the same: ...

Just one glance at Brad Kaaya throwing passes Tuesday after the University of Miami’s first spring f ...

Yes, the Hurricanes’ uncertainty at quarterback has created some uneasiness, as Mark Richt told me r ...

Senior guards Adrienne Motley and Jessica Thomas sat slumped over on the Watsco Center floor late Mo ...

Spring has sprung for the University of Miami football program. Practice, closed to the public, had ...

A conversation with Belén Garijo and Felicia Marie Knaul. ...

Nova Southeastern University’s Jacqueline A. Travisano will be UM’s Executive Vice President for Bus ...

U.S. Trust will provide advisory services for UM’s long-term growth portfolio. ...

Sir James Galway, Distinguished Presidential Scholar, inspires flute students with his artistry and ...

Activist and community organizer Alicia Garza stresses the need for a richness of ideas to help solv ...

Miami travels to Louisville, Ky., Sunday at noon to face No. 34 Louisville at the Bass-Rudd Tennis C ...

Briadam Herrera continued his sparkling postseason run Friday at the IU Natatorium, finishing as the ...

The Hurricanes will welcome a talented field of teams to Cobb Stadium for the second of three home m ...

The No. 37 Miami women's tennis team fell to Boston College, 6-1, Friday afternoon at the Flynn ...

The Miami Hurricanes dropped their series opener to No. 8 North Carolina Friday afternoon at Boshame ...

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 on Thursdays during the regular academic year.