Sunday, 6 April 2008

Adele - 19

Adele may only be 19, but her voice sounds like it belongs in a way-gone decade. Too much hype can often cause resentment, but that's not enough of a justification for why this doesn't rise to the occasion. The lyrics verge on trite and anodyne, and the lack of life experience can't even be cancelled out by her admittedly dexterous vocal talent. These two facts aren’t compatible – they cause an uncomfort, a fakeness. 'Chasing Pavements' undoubtedly has a chorus worthy of fanfares, and it's certainly better than the rest of the radio-hoggers out there - even though an album of 'Chasing Pavements' (which is not what '19' is, fortuitously or otherwise) would be weary.Unrealistic Winehouse-pigeonholing is irksome, and calling comparisons with The Beehived-One undeserving would be to give the link weight – there are no similarities at all. But – and a huge but - the plaudits are hyperbolic to the extreme. 'Cold Shoulder' is the only very slight evidence of soul, at least musically, but it's impractical to think that that alone is enough to carry Adele through to super-stardom and/or credibility.Vocal gymnastics here and there, notably on 'Crazy For You', reek of desperation where there should be subtlety. The bossa-lite of 'Right As Rain' evokes something similar. Point to note: that unedited, recurring squeak/squawk on 'Melt My Heart To Stone' is not convincing. Even Eg White and Mark Ronson can't hide the fact that Adele's voice and her songwriting aren't a match made in heaven. The lyrics are exasperating, mostly: "My oh my how my blood boils/It's sweetest for you/It strips me down bare/And get's [sic] me into my favourite mood". The grammatical typo of "get's" on the sleeve is more significant than it seems – it's a symbol for the rush job that must have been getting this album out there whilst the wonder-kid was at the height of the hard sell. Adele's become a victim of her own hype. All of this said, highlight 'Hometown Glory' being situated right at the end of '19' leaves you wondering whether with less pressure, this Sarf Londoner could create something equally earnest but less asinine.

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