Adele's last album, 19, was hotly anticipated after she won the BBC Sound of 2008 poll - in effect, meaning that British "tastemakers" had deemed her to be something rather special. And how right they were. Her album blows away any expectations of a 19 year old, full of songs filled with heart and soul. A personal favorite of mine off the album was "Hometown Glory," her poignant voice singing over beautifully written piano melodies
Well now Adele's back, and 21 has even more to live up to than 19. Does it manage? In a word, yes. Instead of being another one of the many young London singers following Amy Winehouse, Adele has now transcended above and beyond her, and 21 is confirmation of this. It's more of the winning recipe of 19, but maturity has led to something even better.
Adele's voice seems even more powerful, and there is a slight deep south sound at times to some of the songs. However, the biggest change is the development in her song writing. Everything feels a little bit more soulful, and it's somewhat better crafted. Apparently this one was written pre-breakup, and you can tell - it's pretty raw and heartfelt, her soul literally fills the song and the room it's being played in. The album is set for a February 22 release in the U.S.
It's refreshing to hear a British singer make an album appealing to the genres of the past rather than reverting to electro-pop or popstep. Credit must go to Paul Epworth, who produced this album. Time and time again he has shown himself to be of unparalleled skill on the mixing desk.
Recent single release "Rolling In the Deep" is a particular highlight, but "Someone Like You" is particularly special - it's one of the best emotional songs I've heard in a long time. It's powerful, heart-achingly beautiful, and plenty more besides. You can expect to hear this one played nonstop, and it will definitely pop up in a fair share of romantic films.
Additionally there is "Hiding My Heart," more of a nod to the bluesy sound which the rest of the album takes. Here's a slow-wave remix from mystery producer Jolie Filles as a bonus. Happy listening!