Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Adele - 21: Initially nothing special, but with growing-on potential

I can't say I'm the biggest Adele fan. The UK seems to be nuts about her (as a triple platinum certification on her debut album, 19, will testify), but I never quite understood it. Chasing Pavements – the big single off the 2008 album – failed to impress and I don't really remember the rest of the album making any headway in SA.
Her follow up to 19 (21 – surprised?) isn't much more impressive. There isn't any obvious growth or development, and honestly Adele herself is a lot more entertaining than her music. 
21 is rather whiny and self-pitying. An excellent album if you're 16 and have just had your heart broken for the first time, but overly sentimental for us calloused grown ups. Like so many female musicians the target market is pretty clearly girls and boys who like boys.
There are, however, a few universally appealing high points on the album. Rolling in the Deep – the current single – is quite catchy, and angry enough not to be soppy. Rumour Has It is a vindictive little ditty and it's gone straight onto my 'favourites' playlist. And then there's the glorious cover of The Cure's Lovesong. Stripped of all the quirk and pep, it makes for a deeply heartfelt song that plucks at the heartsrings.
I hate to say it, but with these songs to keep you listening, the others have the potential to grow on you and this could even become a favourite album – if you're sufficiently heartbroken or sentimental. If your palette longs for something a little more meaty, I'd give this one a skip.

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