Review Summary: We were the greatest, me and you.
Heartbreak has always been a relatively familiar term for artists in the music industry. A lot of musicians help ease their pain by writing about their experiences and letting it all out on record. It serves as a form of therapy for them and in the process allows the listener to relate to the tracks on an emotional level. As music listeners, we don’t just listen to music that makes us feel good, but we want to listen to music that will strike that chord inside and let us know that we’re not the only people to have gone through a certain problem. We look for that certain song/album that will also serve us as therapy and help us vent. At one point or another, we have all experienced some sort of heartbreak. Giving your heart to that one person that you believe to be your special someone, only to have them break it into pieces can be a very traumatizing experience for any person, but twenty-three year old UK singer Adele was able to turn her tale of heartbreak into one of the most powerful, sincere albums to come out in 2011.
Conceived from the disintegration of an 18-month relationship, Adele pours her heart out on all forty-eight minutes of 21
, going through an array of emotions that shift from angry to forgiving. No doubt about it, her vocal performance is the forefront of the album and shines on tracks such as Rolling in the Deep
, an emotional track inspired by a verbal fight the day after the breakup, where Adele shouts to her ex-lover how they “could have had it all,”
and makes sure her anger comes across loud and clear as she beautifully sings “Think of me in the moments of your despair. Make a home down there as mine sure won’t be shared.”
Other tracks come across a lot sadder and show Adele’s vulnerable side, such as Don’t You Remember
, a beautiful, heartbreaking ballad where during the chorus, Adele, singing as if she is in tears, cries out:
“Don’t you remember the reason you loved me before? Baby, please remember me once more. When was the last time you thought of me? Or have you completely erased me from your memory? I often think about where I went wrong. The more I do, the less I know”
It’s moments like that that make 21
come off as really genuine. It shows that at least some mainstream music can still be honest and guided by a powerful voice, and not come across as over-produced, immature garbage. Adele’s fierce, powerful, and raw voice is the forefront of the album and is backed by an array of instruments to beautifully display Adele’s voice, craft 21
and make it such an enthralling listen.
Lyrically, Adele pours her heart out on 21
. She is unafraid to express the deepest pains of he heart one bit. It’s a very personal album that shows just who Adele as a person and a lover really is. The album allows everyone to connect with her sorrow, and allows her to vent/heal in the process. An example of the heartbreaking lyricism shines on Take it All
; a more personal track that showcases just how broken the relationship has left Adele. It allows the listener into some of the deepest parts of her heart and through her words, shares a lot of the pain she has gone through. It allows us to see how Adele probably cared for the relationship a lot more than her ex lover did, and how disappointed it has left her; how she has spent time inside her head questioning everything that’s happened.
“But go on and take it, take it all with you. Don't look back at this crumbling fool. Just take it all. With my love, take it all. Maybe I should leave to help you see. Nothing is better than this and this is everything we need. So is it over? Is this really it? You've given up so easily, I thought you loved me more than this.”
has its moments throughout, but none comes off across as powerful as the track Someone Like You
, a ballad where Adele accepts what’s happened and forgives her ex-lover, wishing him “nothing but the best.”
Her performance of the song on the Live at the Royal Albert Hall DVD is nothing short of spectacular and heartbreaking to watch (youtube that performance, it’s amazing). The song is the perfect closer to the album and shows that as sad as it may be, we must all come to terms with what’s happened. We accept it, we grow from it, and we become better people.
separates itself from every other album that came out in 2011 by being brutally honest and one of the few “human” sounding albums in the mainstream today. The raw power of Adele’s heartbroken voice is enough to keep my attention and have her be the recipient for a handful of grammys. It documents a time in her life where her heart was most vulnerable, and being able to share that and reach millions of people is an accomplishment to be proud of.