808s

Adele

During 2011, the topic that has come up most when people talk to me about music has been decidedly absent from this blog. Adele is undoubtedly the Queen of the charts right now becoming the first artist of the decade so far to sell 1 million copies of one song, and selling a ridiculous amount of albums. Most people who read my Twitter and Facebook will think I have an almighty hatred of Miss Adkins (the fact her name is one letter off my own does add some irony to the situation). This couldn’t be further from the truth…

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Adele is most definitely one of the most talented musicians currently recording. Her voice is simply beautiful, full of the sort of soul inflections that the chart has been lacking for years. She has a brilliant recording voice, seen no better than her now legendary Brits performance where she sounded better than the vocal that made the CD. Even when she’s off her game, such as at this years VMAs, she betters just about every other artist in the charts on vocal talents, only the late Amy Winehouse being in the same league as her most would agree. I would never dispute this, and while it may often seem like I dismiss her, her talents are undeniable.

When it comes to Adele though, a few things hold me back from loving her. Having listened to both albums, there are very few songs that truly deserve a vocal from someone so gifted. Adele is better than most of the songs she performs on her albums. 21 is universally seen as the best album of 2011, in the charts, public opinion and most likely when awards season comes around. If the album was 12 songs of Rolling in the Deep quality I could see why, but instead there are song after song of repetitive and slightly dull ballads. Rolling is most definitely one of the year’s best songs, because it does more than just showcase Adele’s voice, with interesting production and a chorus that is incredibly infectious.

Someone Like You is the other end of the spectrum, with an incredible vocal and lyrics that are totally believable. But my issue comes when 10 more Someone Like You’s that don’t live up to the standard set by the original appear on 21. For me it isn’t enough to have a brilliant voice, the songs need to be on par with the talent.

Outside of this, most people think I hate Adele due in large part to one of her songs. Make You Feel My Love became Adele’s anthem for the last 4 months of 2010 and into 11 until her new album came out. The reason for this sudden resurgence of a cover she had recorded on her first album? X Factor. For chance a contestant with a half decent voice says she is going to sing Make You Feel My Love by Adele, even though the original was recorded by Bob Dylan, and the song ends up surging back up the charts. This is typical for X Factor, but the song sticks around for another week or two.

This was only the beginning though as when Bootcamp arrived MYFML was one of the songs multiple contestants were asked to sing. Following Gamu’s performance that set off tears for judge Louis, the song performed even better, becoming a high contender for the number 1 spot. Used as backing music for the rest of the competition, Make You Feel My Love stayed in the chart well into the new year, being played on just about every TV show on the air. The song never left, and my feelings towards it worsened by the week. I became so sick of the song that any good feelings I had towards Adele were gone, replaced by rage at how often I heard that song.

A similar thing happened for me this year with Someone Like You, which I know Adele wrote following the success she had gotten from her track last year. At least she had something to do with the song being successful this time around, MYFML achieved so much success without Adele lifting a finger, the producers at X Factor doing all the leg work for her.

But forgetting both my lack of interest in most of her album tracks, and my rage at MYFML, the thing that stops me from loving Adele is that I don’t ‘need’ her in my life. It came to me last night while listening to Robyn’s live lounge version of Dancing on My Own. I react to that performance in the same way that everyone else reacts to the lyrics Someone Like You, all I have to hear is the first two lines and I’m already in tears. Both are heartbreaking yet powerful songs, full of emotion and soul. For me Robyn achieves the things I mentioned above that Adele’s albums don’t, because she does it in the most open genre of all, Pop. The way people feel connected to the lyrics on 21 is how I feel about songs such as Be Mine, which is why I don’t need an artist like Adele in my life.

Adele is here to stay, and hopefully those people who thought I hated her will have understood where I am coming from. Those same people would probably be surprised to hear that I once ‘hated’ Rihanna for reasons as fickle as being sick of MYFML above. Though I doubt Adele would eventually go onto to being number 1 on my favourite songs of all time, stranger things have happened! I may still find it hard to believe that there are still people who don’t own her album, but I most definitely don’t hate Adele!

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