In her sophomore full length, 21
, Adele shows the world of pop how talent is crafted as she sings through raw emotions with a soulful drive and unashamed openness. Impressively, the title of 21
represents the age at which she wrote the album, yet despite her youth, Adele seems to exude more of a timeless truth within every chord and cleverly expressive lyric. She effortlessly represents a wisdom that travels far beyond her years through a dissection of pain and both emotional and musical growth. This talent is undeniably present within the album, which lives up to her Grammy award winning debut 19
, with the acoustic simplicity of ballads, jazz-infused grooves, and an admirable devotion to love within each track's every lyric.
Early on in 21
, it is clear that Adele has a natural ability to create purely elegant music with an equal amount of vocal attitude, while possessing the listener with stirringly passionate lyrics. Particularly fervent is the consistent progression of catchy hooks and seductive rhythm. This thrives during many tracks, including "Turning Tables", which completes its lovely piano with perfect harmonies and a light string accompaniment. "I'll Be Waiting" cleans up with more of an emphasis on a studio sound, while things calm down in the delicate and slightly jazzy rendition of The Cure's "Lovesong" cover.
The vocal accents and percussive drive of "Rumour Has It" has a dance-worthy groove, which is also found in the crisp attitude fully present in the album's first single, "Rolling in the Deep". It is clear why this song was chosen to introduce the album, as it most definitely has the catchiest beat, as well as a perfect concoction of the music's sharp presence and her lyrics' courageous honesty. Other than representing a likeness to Taylor Swift's storytelling lyrics, the instrumentation of 21
is akin to Lady Antebellum with "Don't You Remember", as well as a similar melody to One Republic's "Secrets" in the opening of "Someone Like You" (not unsurprising, as the album was co-produced by One Republic vocalist Ryan Tedder). Equally captivating is "One and Only", another piano-driven number that adds a jazz-like pulse sharing the timeless soul of Norah Jones.
Pop track "Set Fire To The Rain" is heavy with rhythmic beauty and emphasizes Adele's emotional truth with an absolutely burning conviction. Along a similar path, "He Won't Go" is full of strong sentiment, but pedals through the trials of someone who believes in more than the fairy tale hopefulness of love. Rather, it dissects the burden that comes with swearing devotion to love's power. On the other hand, Adele's youth is present during "I'll Be Waiting". Instead of taking the cynical route of a scorned lover, she idealizes the bravery that comes with unconditional dedication. "Take It All", a pretty ballad centered around piano and gospel, is also drenched in this romantic confidence.
As a whole, the album seems to express a mixture of regret and conviction over a love once lost. Essentially, this is the perfect break up album. But despite how common the subject matter, Adele possesses enough talent to hold your attention the entire way through. There are no dull moments, as every single lyric blasts her soulful voice no matter how quiet her disposition or heartbroken her tone. 21
combines Adele's youthfully optimistic attitude about love with a timeless voice, undeniable talent, and effortlessly charming truth. Though there is definite worth in music that expresses the complicated disappointments of life, perhaps we could all benefit from taking a moment to view both love and music with the same openness of someone who has yet to become fully jaded, as Adele demonstrates in 21
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