All Grown-up

Mature may be a synonym for boring when it comes to pop music.

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: September 24, 2011 3:19:33 am

Mature may be a synonym for boring when it comes to pop music. But British songstress Adele Adkins’ latest offering Adele 21,surpasses even that. The album is definitely better than her last one,Adele 19,and could be the best soul pop album this year. This girl is not your average lily-livered ambitious pop star and that was clear after her interesting debut album. Nor is she one of those whacky and anorexic characters,known more for their antics than music. Adele’s music is non-sexual (but very sensual) and non-gimmicky (but very smart),and that is what seems to work for her. For a pop artist as young as her,(she is 23),the deep operatic style and contralto voice may seem incongruous. But her music remains hip with its introspective and,at times,even scornful lyrics.

This album,which is a mix of everything,from tracks with luscious hard-hitting beats to soft twangy ballads,opens with the swaggering Rolling in the deep which has already gone viral on the Internet. The gospel-infused bluesy pop song with an old-world vigour gives it the right appeal,thanks to a little improvisation and minimal orchestration. The opening track promises a great album ahead.

What follows is the very Broadway-meets-commercial Rumour has it. The persuasive marching-style back beat hovering behind does not get too overpowering as Adkins brings a layered musicality to it with her strong voice. This is followed by the haunting Turning tables and the experimental Set fire to the rain. While she is sassy and tender at times,there is this wonderful sort of wildness to it all. An interesting track is Take it all that uses a lot of falsetto,but as good as it sounds,we prefer the original voice.

Her retro orchestrations,in places blended with regular modern pop,and with an excellently modulated voice has got her an overwhelming welcome.

Overall,the album is like a beautifully-baked batch of muffins,littered with some knock out choco-chip treats in it. We look forward to more of her delicious voice.

suanshu.khurana@expressindia.com

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