Adele's sophmore album, 21, kicks-off with "Rolling in the Deep," a dark and angry song that incorporates a heavier rock edge than we are accustomed to hearing from her. Despite the shift, she does not lose the piano and powerful delivery we love. This represents the overall feel of the album: Adele expands on her musical styling and inspiration, without abandoning the winning formula from her debut.
Adele keeps the rock edge in the second track "Rumor has it." It is quite evident that she is singing about real pain and emotion on this album, as she expresses digust for a former lover. Adele has expressed publicly that her real life break up fuels her writing and we can see that the resulting product is brilliant, razor sharp music. This isn't the first time that artists' break-ups have resulted in great music (Beck's Sea Change comes to mind). It's a little sad to think that we are benefitting from her hurt, but then again, it is evident that this outlet was sweet revenge for Adele, as well.
In the passionate ballads, "Turning Tables" and "Take it all," she lets her voice take over and reminds us why she is the queen of the modern soul songbirds. Though I am a fan of Florence and the Machine and Duffy, I really don't think they can touch Adele. Her voice is as soulful and her delivery as flawless as I have ever heard. Her musical style is very genuine and humble, which is very refreshing and rather unique for this day and age. In fact, many folks will call this album a throw-back or say that it reminds them of music from the 60's or 70's. Although I see their point, I like to just think of it as good music and timeless at that.
Overall, the album flows well as a cohesive unit of music, despite dabbling in a few different styles. Legendary producer, Rick Rubin adds his touch to four of the tracks including a loungy cover of the Cure's "Love Song." I quite enjoy Adele's take on the 80's classic, yet I've heard this song covered so many times that I don't view this as one of the stronger points of the album. Regardless, it is all part of a story and soundtrack to Adele's rocky love life that she portray's for us beautifully, though darkly and sometimes angrily.