Adele represents something truly unique within the realm of female singer-songwriters. Her vocal ability is unparalleled and the staying power of the music she creates is unmatched. For every album of hers that rests in its place within contemporary music history, many more Katy Perry and Lily Allen albums will fall by the wayside and into the depths with their disposable companions.
Adele’s latest album, 21, opens with the single “Rolling In The Deep,” a powerful song about lost love and heartbreak that serves as both a fitting introduction to Adele’s vocal talents for new listeners and a brilliant reminder for old fans.
21 continues with inspiring and deep piano and guitar accompaniments with heavy, piercing backbeats, all complementing Adele’s incredible voice. Another gem on the record comes later with the acoustic guitar-lit cover of The Cure’s “Love Song.” The song is a shift from the slightly catchier, more rhythmically charged songs that precede it on the album. The more mellow effort adds a level of depth and diversity to 21 that contrasts nicely with the energetic recordings earlier on the album such as “Rumor Has It,” giving 21 a sense of completeness.
Stylistically, Adele doesn’t take many risks nor does she move away from the general paradigm she adhered to in her previous album 19 — creating deep, soulful blues songs. While something new is always appreciated, Adele is wise to stick to what she knows and what she’s good at. It is within this medium that her art excels and she is able to do something many aspire to but fail at: Create a legitimate pop record centered around love and heartbreak. Adele connects to the listener, making them feel her pain as she reflects on loves lost, wailing lyrics such as, ”We could have had it all,” and “Tears are gonna fall,” rolling in between introspective thoughts of a relationship destroyed. Adele invites the listener to gaze at her vulnerabilities, in turn revealing their own. In this sense, 21 fosters a connection between the artist and her audience — the mark of a great album.