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The Critics Corner: Albums
21
Adele | 21
Sophomore effort a great but emotional roller coaster
Name: 21
Label: Columbia
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Rating: 4.6 out of 5


Review written by: Natasha Jordan
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There is definitely a reason why Adele is a two time Grammy winner, and winner of an armful of awards in other countries. Her album is a compilation of stories of loss and longing and all sorts of emotions that everyone feels at one point in time. She takes you on a journey with her voice that is completely raw and not covered with unnecessary editing. The simple music in the background only adds to the emotions her voice has you feeling throughout the entire CD.

Rolling in the Deep is a great song to get your head bopping, and is a perfect starting point for the stories her album tells. The upbeat tempo fits well with the theme of vengeance that the lyrics portray, as do the background vocals. You're going to wish you never had met me. Tears are going to fall, rolling in the deep, repeats as the peak of the song hits and you can't help but feel the need to get revenge on every ex that has wronged you.

Rumor Has It keeps up with an upbeat tempo, but Adele's voice croons slowly over the upbeat music in the background. This song tells the listener about the boy who leaves for someone younger, and is supposed to be an upgraded model, but the upgraded model ends up leaving for him for a better version and the boy attempts to come crawling back. The bridge takes a completely different tone, lyrically and musically, that is almost reflective of the story telling that people pass around. Adele sings people say crazy things, just 'cause I said it, don't mean I meant it talking about the rumors flying around, and you can't always believe everything you hear.

The next song on the album is Turning Tables which starts out with a piano piece that accompanies most of Adele's music. The piano and her voice are a perfect pair, and this song is no exception. The song talks about having a guard around your heart and how you can't let someone in who is constantly changing the pace of the game. It is just time to let go and move on, even if you don't want to, you know deep down that things will never change and the only end in sight is pain.

Don't You Remember is a beautiful break up song. It tells the story of how after you get past the original pain and you move on to the part where you start to remember the bad and the good and everything in between. She is singing about trying to figure out what went wrong, and how she could miss the signs of what went wrong, and how she could have changed to be a better match, but most of all she remembers the good time and wonders why he left.

Set Fire to the Rain picks the pace of the album back up a bit. The song is about the person who is the exact opposite of who they pretend to be. They talk are sweet talkers and always know exactly what to say, but in the end, they are nothing like who they are pretending to be. I set fire to the rain and I threw us into the flames, Well, I felt something die, 'Cause I knew it'd be the last time, the last time. The end of the road has come to this couple and she is finally sick of the lies, so she sets fire to the rain.

He won't go tells a story about a loved one who as a problem and tries to push you away to deal with their problems. You hear their pleas but you stick around anyways if this ain’t love then what is. You know that whatever problems there are you are going to stick by them no matter what.

Take It All slows down again. The ballads prove to be a perfect showcase of Adele’s vocals throughout the whole album. Sometimes you lay it all down on the table and you give so much of yourself that you just don't want anything back. You start to realize that no matter how much you give its not going to work take it all with my love.

I’ll be waiting is about that person that you have to change for and they have to change for you so that you can be on the same level. I’ll be waiting for you, when you’re ready to love me again. The song talks about having the odds stacked against you, but going back to the relationship later on to see if the odds have changed.

One and Only is a heartfelt song full of pleading. She is begging for a chance to just be with someone. The song is a story of the typical, but with a spin. The other person is the one with the guard up this time. I dare you to let me be your one and only. You have to break down the other person’s barriers and prove that you are worth the crumbled walls.

Adele’s cover of Lovesong, originally by The Cure, is perfect for her album. The soul that her voice brings to the song is a wonderful addition. Her version doesn’t stray too far from the original, but her vocals put that extra spin that it needs.

Someone like you rounds out the album as the official last song. This song tells a story about moving on, even though you don’t want to. You are still holding on to that last glimmer of a hope, but sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead. Not everything lasts. Sometimes it just ends in hurt instead.

There are many different bonus tracks floating around in all the different versions of Adele’s Album floating around. ITunes has I found a boy, Target has a few acoustic versions of her song as well as a cover of Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now. HMV, for the people in the UK, has a deluxe edition that includes covers If It Hadn’t Been For Love (A cover originally by The SteelDrivers) and Hiding My Heart (by Brandi Carlisle). If It Hadn’t Been for Love adds a little bit of an older country bluegrass feel with instruments in the background. The song talks about the adventures that love takes you on, some of them completely disastrous. Hiding My Heart talks about building walls up and not wanting to let someone in even if they completely sweep you off your feet. But even then, they still leave.

21 is a great sophomore album for Adele, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing many more awards for her from this album and her music to come. Adele has found a style of music that fits her voice, and her personality, and sticks with what she knows best. It may not be the upbeat music that has you dancing in clubs, but it is definitely the music to turn to when you need to work out your emotions.
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