Adele, still incomparable after four albums

Jean Claude Elias
Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years. (Photo: Jordan News)
Iwas searching the web, looking for the most successful 20 pop albums of 2021, to review one of them. To my surprise, and though I closely follow the trend, I noticed that I only knew three of the 20 featured artists: Billy Eilish, Demi Lovato and Adele. The other 17 acts were totally unknown to me, which shows at what speed the world pop scene evolves, and the large number of newcomers in the pop music industry. Reality is that most of these new artists hardly last more than a few months; they often vanish from the landscape as fast as they appeared in it.اضافة اعلان

My heart, and also the fact that she is beyond doubt one of the most, if not the most, significant female vocalists of the last 20 years or so, told me to go for Adele’s latest album, simply titled “30”, and her fourth to date. The fans of the singer know that she usually titles her albums with her age at the time of writing the songs: 19, 20, 25 and now 30.

Adele’s 30 clearly reveals the maturity the English singer has reached, be it due simply to growing older or to passing through the difficult and emotional personal experiences of life, in particular her divorce in 2019. The lyrics of the songs focus on these painful experiences.

This time, the compositions, overall, are more on the jazzy and soul music side, less on the pop aspect that was the dominating spirit in the preceding three albums released by the singer.

Adele style is an ideal balance between high-pitched and low notes, between soft and powerful delivery. This variety of renditions makes it a pleasure to listen to her over extended time. The English singer can sound very much pop and energetic at times, or bluesy-jazzy-soul at others. The way she articulates the words is always impeccable, and very pleasant. She excels at all these genres, she showcases the same talent, the same innate feeling for the music she chooses to interpret.

I went through the entire, generous, 50 minutes and 12 songs of the new album without a break, never feeling tired or bored – quite the opposite, enjoying every minute, every single note or word. Despite the little style change that “30” brings, compared to previous albums, the quality and the level of musical and singing expression of the vocalist remain absolutely superlative.

Easy on Me, track No.2, is the song that so far seems to be the most successful of the album, at least if one judges by the number of views and plays on YouTube and Spotify, where the combined total on the two platforms is nearing the one billion mark – quite impressive for music that was released only six weeks ago.

To be Loved is a slow, emotional, blues-tinted song, played and sang rubato (i.e., without a strict tempo or beat) which perfectly fits the lyrics. Although it has received much less airplay that the other songs, I found it the deepest, the most emotional and the most compelling track of the album.

All Night Parking uses the music and the actual piano part played by the late great American jazz pianist Erroll Garner who passed away in 1977. This is another example of how technology can be put to good use in music production by smartly and elegantly blending and mixing old recordings with new ones.

Love is a Game, the last song on the album, may be the closest to the artist’s previous works. It is sung against a backdrop of a simple, straight, and easy drumbeat. The arrangements, the chords progression, and the beautiful female backing vocals conjure up, to a certain extent, Phil Spector’s early productions. In this way, it constitutes a “classic” pop production.

Adele’s “30” has reached the number one spot in more than 20 countries and has been certified platinum in France, UK, US, Australia, Poland, and New Zealand. Adele wrote all the songs, most in cooperation with American composer and pianist Greg Kurstin, others with Ludwig Göransson, Max Martin, Shellback, Dean Josiah Cover, and Tobias Jesso.

Interestingly, and perhaps as a proof, a sign, of continuity and consistency with Adele’s previous recordings, the piano is very present in most of the songs. It is superbly played by Kurstin, Göransson and Martin.

Maintaining her strong personal imprint on four albums in a row – albums that all are hugely successful worldwide – is by any measure exceptional. Adele remains incomparable and, luckily for us music lovers, is here to stay.

Jean-Claude Elias is a computer engineer and a classically trained pianist and guitarist. He has been regularly writing IT articles, reviewing music albums, and covering concerts for more than 30 years.

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