Review: Adele – 21

Has any artist ever thrown down the gauntlet at the beginning of a year quite like Adele did with 21? Arriving on January 24, 2011 (in the United Kingdom, that is; it hit shelves in the States a month later), 21 quickly became not just the defining musical blockbuster of that year, but also of the still-young decade. No album since has had the same impact on the music world, or the world as a whole. 21 briefly made it feel like no one had ever heard another breakup album before. The mythology around the album (“Who broke Adele’s heart?” was a common question), along with the strength of the songs, made for a moment in music history that was genuinely monocultural. These days, it seems like there’s nothing everyone can share as common ground – period, let alone musically. 21 was different: a true four-quadrant classic that had something for everyone. From the pop music stans to the music critics to the songwriting classicists, Adele checked every box. Looking back, it feels like the last album that everyone could agree on. In terms of cultural significance, chart dominance, Grammy chances, and a million other metrics, every other artist who released something in 2011 was competing for second place.

While 21 dropped in January. I have never thought of it as a “winter” album. One of the (many) disadvantages to being a broke college student living in an outdated dorm in the winter of 2011 was that you had no good method to hear the latest music as it was breaking. Spotify hadn’t launched in the U.S. yet, paying for downloads via iTunes (or driving somewhere to buy a CD) wasn’t in the budget, and pirating music over the ethernet-only internet connection was both slow as hell and risky. That’s why I often went months without hearing the music that everyone else was talking about, 21 included. In this particular case, though, the delay proved to be serendipitous.

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Adele’s Note to Fans Confirms She May Not Tour Again

Adele has confirmed in a letter to fans that she may be taking a break from touring:

Touring is a peculiar thing, it doesn’t suit me particularly well. I’m a real homebody and I get so much joy in the small things. Plus I’m dramatic and have a terrible history of touring. Until now that is! I’ve done 119 shows and these last 4 will take me up to 123, it has been hard out an absolute thrill and pleasure to have done. I only ever did this tour for you and to hopefully have an impact on you the way that some of my favourite artist have had on me live. And I wanted my final shows to be in London because I don’t know if I’ll ever tour again and so I want my last time to be at home.

Adele’s ’25’ Goes Diamond

Adele’s 25 has gone diamond.

On the strength of the seven-times platinum single “Hello” as well as hit singles “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” and “When We Were Young,” 25 reached diamond in a little over 10 months. Her previous album, 2011’s 21, propelled by hits “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You,” took almost two years to hit diamond in November 2012

Social Media and the Music Industry

Twitter

Harriet Gibsone, writing for The Guardian, looks at the pros and cons of social media in the music industry. The article itself is interesting, but this tidbit really stood out:

“I mean I’m not a drinker any more, but when Twitter first came out I was, like, drunk tweeting, and nearly put my foot in it quite a few times,” Adele told the BBC last year. “So my management decided that you have to go through two people and then it has to be signed off by someone, but they’re all my tweets. No one writes my tweets. They just post them for me.”

This is probably something that should be put into place by most bands/labels/management. I wonder if there’s a market for an app like this? One that looks and works just like regular Twitter, but any post or reply gets queued up instead of posted immediately. Combine that with some fancy screening of the at-replies section (to filter out harassment, assholes, and spam), and maybe Twitter would be more attractive to celebrities, sports stars, and other public figures.

Review: Adele – 25

Adele - 25

Here’s a monster of an unenviable task: following up an album that sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, spawned multiple ubiquitous singles, won a truckload of Grammys, spent 24 nonconsecutive weeks at number one, and was labeled by Billboard as “the Greatest Album of All Time”—whatever that means. Adele’s 21 was the kind of phenomenon that doesn’t happen in the music world anymore. Albums are obsolete for the average listener, right? Digital track sales are plummeting? Monoculture is dead? Adele defied every expectation and turned her sophomore album into a cultural sensation that was probably as close as our generation will ever get to having a Thriller. No wonder the British songstress took the better part of five years to drop the follow-up.

Unsurprisingly, 25 has arrived to endless comparisons to its predecessor—many of them unflattering. The reviews are mixed, and while the album will undoubtedly be a juggernaut that breaks sales records and single-handedly keeps the record business on life support for another few years, it’s already pretty clear that 25 is not going to have the legacy of adoration that its world-beating predecessor did.

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