Adele’s new album 21 boasts vocal and emotional maturity.


Adele’s new album 21, released February 22, expands the English songstress horizons as an emerging and respected artist. Featuring different genres like blues and big band, the album swings you around with a strong fury. There’s power in Adele’s sweet but potent soft vocals and it makes her sophomore album much more mature and introspective than her previous album. 19. Adele catalogues in 21 her growth in age, citing the fact that the numbers in the album title represent her emotional maturity. Her resulting album is a strong example of an instrumental and vocal blues odyssey.

The first single off the album “Rolling in Deep,” is the driving force that opens 21. It has already topped many pop charts around the world and has been getting airplay across pop radio. The prominent drums take you on a rollercoaster ride and it never slows down. The progressions that build to the chorus are similar to the same popular and growing sound featured in Florence and the Machine. It’s also in the vein of disco/gospel played at roller rinks in the 1970’s. The powerful chorus rings in your ears and builds until you’re ready to scream at the top of your lungs.

It’s clear that Adele has been wronged by a man on this album. Most tracks deal with heartbreak, or anger directed at an unfaithful man. “Rumour Has I,” is deliciously catty, calling out to a lover that’s left her for something worth much less. It drips with attitude. “Bless your soul, you’ve got your head in the clouds, you made a fool out of you,” she sings. She’s kissing off an ex-lover as well as placing all the blame on her jilted man. She makes it clear he was a damn fool to reject such a powerful woman. You know his bed is going to be cold for the remaining nights. “Turning Tables” also deals with an angry breakup. The angry but beautiful orchestration adds to the post-breakup anxiety contained in the song.

“Take It All” is a typical piano ballad. It’s pretty, but nothing to get too excited about. Adele’s voice carries the song and keeps it from becoming average. She has a way of carrying her emotions on her sleeve that is heard through her vocals. This keeps the track from becoming too boring. The track “Don’t You Remember” is ironically forgettable.

Adele redeems herself in “I’ll Be Waiting.” Its surging upbeat vocals bring back the disco/soul sound. Here Adele’s voice is a combination of Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin. This track pounds through your speakers, simmering with vulnerability and the vocals vibrate with power.

The R&B sound is prevalent in the tracks “Set Fire to the Rain” and “One and Only.” Here Adele works between a blues and gospel sound. While the songs lack anything groundbreaking, Adele’s voice carries the album from something standard to something more extraordinary.

The album closes with an interesting cover of The Cure’s “Love Song.” This song has been covered numerous of times by different artists, but Adele takes it on with a new and fresh soulful vulnerability. This song has always been sung in a forlorn style, but Adele takes it to a whole new level.

Check out Adele’s 21 out in stores and available for download now.