About 7 years ago a father took his daughter to New York for a vacation. While visiting they took a trip to the Virgin Music Store in Time Square. This is where the faint dream of one day having her own album in a record store in the middle of Time Square was only imagined as she wandered the aisles of music.
Skip forward to the present, the now 22 year old girl released 21 in January.
So what does this story mean to me?
Well, one night I woke up and turned on the TV. There was a music video playing which showed plates being randomly thrown towards a piece of plywood and shattering into a pile, glasses of water placed side by side covering an entire hallway, and a person dressed like a ninja dancing around with a staff in a room filled with flour. Tied to this was an enchanting, soulful vocal and infectious cadence that had me captivated from the very first moment. It took no time at all for me to become engulfed in the song and begin tapping my foot to the hooking rhythms and lyrics of “Rolling in the Deep”.
The multitalented Adele Laurie Blue Adkins seems to have almost snuck onto the world stage overnight. The release of her first studio album 19 in 2008 produced a few singles, most notably “Chasing Pavements”. Although it was very well done, I listen to it quite a bit; it doesn’t hold a candle to the power 21 delivers. This is the type of record you would own on vinyl. If you don’t have a record player, do yourself the favor of buying one, and then buy this, then listen to this on it.
There is certainly not beating around the bush with the tracks here. Straight out of the gate you’re hit by “Rolling in the Deep”, the album then takes a turn and steps out of the almost Big Band/Soul era influence to a more modern R&B tone, only to return to the mesmerizing voice that holds nothing back when conveying the deep emotion and sentiment written into every song.
As I delved into the realm of Adele, I began to ask myself if we were just being tempted with another Amy Winehouse like ability. Are we going to be given this sound only to have the talent behind it go insane and fade into oblivion? To answer this question, I put on my detective hat and began inquiring. What I would find would not only surprise me, but make me appreciate her even more. I began searching through as much media as one can handle within their sanity, it didn’t take long to discover a humble, quiet, and beautiful woman behind this harmony. From her blogs to the Tiny Desk Concert there is a very apparent modesty and humbleness which is contradictory to the range and lyrics displayed from song to song.
21 will be a staple in my library for a long time. If it were a tape, it would certainly get worn out.
I encourage you to watch the Tiny Desk Concert from the good folks at NPR Music.