Monday, January 24

Adele - 21; A Review of Sorts

Adele's much awaited (at least by me) second album '21' has finally available to buy, from today, yeyyy! This week I shall mostly be listening to it a million times, so excited! I have however managed to set aside some time to listen to the album with my critical ears on so I could share my thoughts with you, track-by-track (don't groan, it's not that long!).

It's been two years since Adele first released her debut album '19', alongside the huge hit of a single Chasing Pavements and straight away it had a pretty huge impact. I remember the day I bought '19' I had not long moved into a new house during the Summer holidays - I had been spending a lot of time in the garden (because when you're a student a house with a decent garden is magic) - and I spent hours playing the album over and over again, I only stopped because it started raining and was quite scared of my new computer breaking. Since that rain shower, and for the past two years, I have been playing that album almost constantly gradually loving absolutely every track. So as you can imagine, just like a lot of people I have been waiting for this album for quite a while (not so patiently, might I add, whilst she went and conquered America and every single X Factor contestant butchered 'Make You Feel My Love'). 

The second album always seem to be the one artists struggle on - whether your debut album was well received or not, either way you have something to prove. In that respect, maybe I should be thankful that Adele took some time with this one. I was so excited when I first heard the first of the album, 'Rolling in the Deep', that I could not wait to hear the rest of the album. 

Rolling In The Deep
It’s been a couple of since I first heard this track (before Christmas) but it’s still a bit amazing. It's very different from Adele’s debut single ‘Chasing Pavements’, which was a lot softer, but both tracks share a similar theme of a dead end relationship. Adele named this (and her debut album) after the age she was when recording, could the contrasts between these songs represent how she has grown - from the softer, unsure territory of ‘Chasing Pavements’ to the more assertive, resolved ‘Rolling In The Deep’?

(my thoughts on the rest of the album after the jump)

Rumour Has It
Very sixties-pop sound, a bit like a modern day girl-group song. Continues with the punchier, self assured sound of ‘Rolling In The Deep’.

Turning Tables

A ballady sort of song. Not a fan at first listen, although maybe it’s a grower - no doubt Adele has a big voice, but the music feels a little overpowering. It’s very dramatic - sort of sounds like the sort of song Leona Lewis would sing whilst backlit with tousled hair with the use of a wind machine. 

Don’t You Remember
Opens with the guitar-ish sound that we got quite used to in ’19’, reminds me a bit of a Joni MItchell song, with a mix of country and Motown (if that’s possible). Very sweet song - different even to the previous song as it really lets her voice shine. Definitely think it’ll become a favourite.

Set Fire to the Rain
Another powerful, ballad like song. Still quite dramatic. Also still a bit amazing.

He Won’t Go
Not quite as dramatic, as the previous three songs, a lot more of a simplified sound. I was a little unsure of the verse at first, but I absolutely love the chorus and the bridge. Also the end made me giggle because it sounded like something out of the Phantom of the Opera, so y'know still a little bit dramatic.

Take It All
Very soulful - love this. How many favourites am I allowed? 

I’ll Be Waiting
Still a very sixties, poppy sound. A lot more upbeat than the past few songs, which is proving a nice break from all the previous drama.

One and Only
A couple of the songs have a almost American gospel/Bluesy sound to them, which I suppose is in keeping with the sixties Motown sound as a lot of artists were inspired by that sort of music. It’s the sort of song you want to sway along to, very easy to listen to. Again, I absolutely love this.
Another guitarry song - a lot mellower than the other songs. I tend to define songs by how they make me move and this is a definite ‘sashay’ song.

Someone Like You
I can't thing of anything more constructive to say than the fact that I like this song - it made me smile. 

I Found A Boy

Guitarry, almost sounds like a live track - really bluesy sound. Movement: A shoulder shrug. A nice, upbeat end to the album.

Closing thoughts (you still here?!):
A lot of reviewers have talked  about the fact that has used some quite big producers on the album, which seems quite apparent - '21' isn't quite as 'organic' sounding as '19' was (which was what I most liked about the album), at times it feels very 'done', like I said previously - sounding like  a Leona Lewis (featuring The X Factor choir) type song. Although I enjoyed a lot of the tracks, they aren't as instantly addictive or 'loveable' as so many of the tracks on her debut album  - I imagine it will take a few more listens for me to be as attached to these songs I am to her previous ones. Overall it's a strong album, I think perhaps if I didn't love her debut album as much I wouldn't be as critical, but I also think if I'd heard '2' before I heard '19', I perhaps wouldn't have been as excited about Adele as an artist, I don't know?

Have you heard the album as yet? What are your thoughts, so far?


  1. I got it this morning, have had it on my ipod all day, I think it's amazing, like I'm in love xx


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