Adele performing Skyfall at the oscars
This is real, and it happened.
Do ya’ll remember Adele?
I admit, I’m a sucker for the occasional reality singing competition. I love those big notes, and seeing people sing their hearts out.
Now, at this point it’s a big no no to cover Adele. You just don’t do that. At all. But I have to say, last night on Idol, Hollie Cavanagh sang this song pretty damn well. Give it a listen above.
Yep - an NPR article. I can’t help myself.
However, this article showcased, thanks to DJ Earworm, the sound that ruled radio this last year. The boom boom sound. Radio was filled with dance fusions of every genre - pop, “soul,” “R&B,” and more. And to be honest - I’ve become very sick of it.
Part of the reason Adele was so successful this year, aside from having one of the most honest and pure records written in the last 10 years, was she was one of few unique sounds on the radio. Every other song sounded the same this last year. It’s the David Guetta affect, which needs to stop. It happened with Timbaland a few years ago - him and Justin Timberlake made an incredible, genre bending album, and suddenly everyone wanted him on their records, and it just didn’t work as well. It seems that pop music, and other genres, have been warped into only having that boom boom sound, and no other layers. It’s people like Gaga, Beyonce, and Robyn that showcase how you can create music that makes you want to dance all damn night, and still have a unique sound that is much more intricate that what we’ve heard the last 12 months. And it’s people like Adele that bring honesty back into pop music.
So much of this tonight.
I realized this is not an Adele original, but her rendition is the best, and most moving cover I’ve ever heard. I dare say that it is better than the original.Played 91 times.
Adele has been bursting through my speakers a lot lately. A whole damn lot. Almost as much, if not equally the same amount as when I first ever heard that voice 4 or 5 years ago.
In about a week she is set to release her concert film “Adele: Live at The Royal Albert Hall.” Currently recovering from surgery on her vocal cords, Adele has musically had the best year of anyone in the business, aside from her label. Unfortunately this surgery has stopped her from touring the world, and will most likely inhibit any appearances until the beginning of 2012. Which makes me even more thankful that I saw her back in August, as well as the DVD.
The link above is from NPR, and it’s a sneak peek of the film - her astounding rendition of “Make You Feel My Love,” which she appropriately dedicated to the late Amy Winehouse.
Beyonce is releasing her 4th concert film next week, and here is a little preview of it.
She had 4 nights, to celebrate her most recent release, “4” at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Within a week of each other, we have Beyonce, Gaga and Adele all release concert DVDs. Too. Much. To. Handle.
In about 2 weeks, we will see one the biggest weeks of the year for music - Thanksgiving week. Everyone is itching to get in on that Black Friday love, including Gaga, Beyonce, Rihanna and many more.
However, Rihanna is the only one of those three that is release brand new material on her sixth album in six years - “Talk That Talk.” MTV.com recently posted an article (linked above) calling her new album “The best pop album of 2011.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love Rihanna from time to time, and I definitely have my guilty pleasure songs and a lot of her is on that list - but to call this album, which to be fair I haven’t heard in it’s entirety the best of the year, in my opinion is a pretty large, and relatively oblivious statement.
This year we have seen Gaga release “Born This Way” to immense critical and commercial acclaim, and it sold over 1 million copies in the first week, and even without the Amazon deal, it sold 700,000+. We have seen Beyonce release her best work to date with “4.” And last but not least, the most successful and my personal “best album of the year” with Adele’s “21.”
Like I stated earlier, Rihanna has somehow cranked out six albums in six years…she is by far, the most used piece in this machine.
It seems that MTV has clearly neglected any form of artistic growth within the pop music world that has occurred this year, especially with the three women in pop music (Gaga, Beyonce and Adele) who have completely changed the game when it comes to the quality of music that is created within the pop world. For me, these three women show that their can be art and soul within pop music, and it is not all fabricated products.
First off, many thanks to Ann Powers - the author of this article from NPR Music. I have semi neglected this blog as of late because I’ve A. been very busy and B. been taking pictures and focusing on that blog.
However, this article on the role of autobiographical story telling in pop music gave me an inspiration to write. Give this article a read - especially if you’re a fan of pop music like myself.
It got me thinking about how in depth my favorite pop stars go in their music, and what makes it real. There is a fine line for me in how much I want to know about the artist writing the music and singing the song. That is because that level of mystery creates the ability for me to relate to the music. I won’t always know what they were writing about, and that allows me to apply it to my life and create that movie moment.
However - how far do I want that to go? Do I want the artist to create a persona in order to write about certain things, or do I want them to strip everything away, and write from within and be as honest as possible. I’d say it’s a mix of both.
For instance, Taylor Swift, because of her media attention, we have an idea of what is going on in her day to day life, and her love and loss, and the rest of it that doesn’t matter to our own lives. Because of this, and other reasons, I have a hard time relating to her music. On the other hand, someone like Sara Bareilles, I don’t know what is going on in her life all of the time, and what movie star she is dating, and not knowing that allows that mystery to develop that when I listen to her songs, I can relate. On a different level, Adele has written one of the most honest and genuine albums of 2011, but there is still a smoke screen there in the sense that we don’t know this person the album is about, but we know how honest the lyrics are.
In the case of Beyonce, the persona has allowed her fan base to attach to her and her music, and relate. In the long run, they are a creation in order to do exactly this. There are songs when listening to her catalogue, that as much as I love them, I have a hard time believing that it is a life experience she has had. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the song and enjoy it immensely, it just means that my connections to Beyonce’s music verses say someone like Sara Bareilles or Adele are very different.
For me, this does remind me that pop music can, and does have substance. Now, I’m not saying that this is the case for all pop music, but it reminds me that pop music cannot be written off as useless non-art.
Here’s a fascinating article from NPR Music about a new “technique” in pop music to cross racial boundaries - “Green-Eyed Soul.” This articles main focus is Adele’s recent success with her sophomore outing, “21.”
While I was reading this, I couldn’t help but think of the Motown era, and what that did not only for music, but the historical impact it left on our society, and how it blurred the race lines. In that era, “black” music was able to cross over to the pop charts for the first time. The power that cross over had is forever engrained in the legacy of Motown. That’s what draws me to that era of music so much, and part of where my passion for music comes from - that pure and unstoppable force of music.
Give the article a look over, and hopefully it will provoke some thoughts.
Adele Soars on Sophomore Album - “21”
It has been two years since Adele Adkins released her debut album, “19.” After wining the coveted Best New Artist award at the The Grammy’s in 2009, as well as the BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice, she is back with her follow up, “21.”
Adele is one of the most unique and talented artists in music. She has the ability that certain songwriters dream of - which is to write a song about a situation, whether in be a romantic relationship, a friendship, whatever it may be, and have it be applicable to the listener. Along with this lyrical ability, Ms. Adkins has an incredibly powerful and soulful voice. With the strength to belt with the best of the divas, as well as show exhibits control, and emotion on this new record.
The most impressive dimension on this record, which is not always the case, is that clear growth that has occurred between albums. Granted, Adele is older, and has had two years of life to add to her songwriting, however it’s not just about her age. The sound of the record has grown from “19.” On “21” Adele explores different sounds from blues to country to soul, and how they can all work, really well I might add, with her voice. With the album’s first single, “Rolling In The Deep” the deep sound of the production, as well as the heart pouding vocals provide a much more musically mature sound than her first single from “19” which was “Chasing Pavement.” The added production and collaborations on this album will make for fantastic live arrangements of these songs on tour, and will add new depth to what Adele has to offer.
The album continues with honest and heartfelt lyrics with “Don’t You Remember” and “Take It All,” all the while shining with astounding vocals on “Set Fire To The Rain” (my personal favorite on the album) and “Turning Tables.” One of the shining moments on the album is what sounds like the most personal song on the album, “Someone Like You.” With intense emotion in both the vocals and lyrics, the closing song on this record is one of a kind.
This record ups my excitement for the career this woman will hopefully have. If she continues with growth she has exhibited on “21” she could easily go down as a legend in music. I cannot wait to see how things progress, and to hear this album performed live when she makes a stop in Minneapolis at Prince’s own First Avenue.
I’ll leave you with a live performance of my favorite song on the album, “Set Fire To The Rain” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK4TwstB2AM