21 is the second album by English singer-songwriter Adele. It was released on 19 January 2011 in Japan, and 24 January in the UK. The first single released from the album "Rolling in the Deep", described by Adele as a "dark bluesy gospel disco tune", was released in late 2010 to a positive reception from critics, reaching number two on the UK Singles Chart, and number one in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands among others. Official Charts Company Retrieved 21 February 2011 (in German) Media Control Charts 21 February 2011 (in Italian). FIMI-Nielsen Soundscan International. Retrieved 21 February 2011. The album was then released on 19 January in Japan, and 21 January worldwide. It was released in the US on 22 February 2011.
The album received generally positive reviews from critics and became a commercial phenomenon, particularly in the UK, selling 208,000 copies in its first week and debuting at one on the UK Album Chart, and also charted in the same position in ten other countries. "Someone Like You", became her first number-one single in the UK after its performance at the 2011 BRIT Awards caused a surge in sales, while the album also remained at number one. The Official Charts Company announced that Adele is the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits in both the UK Singles Chart and the UK Album Chart simultaneously since The Beatles in 1964. Billboard Retrieved 21 February 2011 Daily Mail Retrieved 21 February 2011 MTV Retrieved 21 February 2011 The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, with first week sales of 352,000 copies. BBC News Retrieved 4 March 2011 It is now the biggest-selling album download of all-time in the UK.
Adele announced the album 21 as being produced primarily by Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder. She confirmed the first single "Rolling in the Deep" was written alongside Paul Epworth. The singer wrote a personal blog to explain the album saying “I’m very excited, nervous, eager, anxious but chuffed to announce my new album! It’s taken a while and it knocked me for six when writing it. It’s different from “19”, it’s about the same things but in a different light. I deal with things differently now. I’m more patient, more honest, more forgiving and more aware of my own flaws, habits and principles. Something that comes with age I think. So fittingly this record is called “21”. The whole reason I called my first album “19” was about cataloging what happened to me then and who I was then, like a photo album you see the progression and changes in a person throughout the years”. The album was largely produced by Rick Rubin in Malibu, California and Paul Epworth in Kensal Rise, London. "Someone Like You" was aired live on Later... with Jools Holland on 20 November 2010. Pianist Neil Cowley, who featured on 19, plays again on tracks "Rolling in the Deep", "Turning Tables" and "Take It All".
Adele has admitted that 21 was inspired by her last break-up and it broke her heart when writing the songs. She has revealed that 21 was also inspired by folk rock band Mumford & Sons's album Sigh No More because it holds a lot of memories of her ex-boyfriend.
The first track on the album ‘’Rolling in the Deep’’ has been described as a “dark bluesy gospel disco tune”, co-written by herself and ‘’Epsworth’’. The second track ‘’Rumour Has It’’ is produced by OneRepublic member Ryan Tedder, and it features banging drums and has been described as a “bluesy/soul anthem”. ‘’Turning Tables’’ the third track on the album was produced by Jim Abbiss described as a Piano Ballad it is co-written by Tedder. The fourth track ‘’Don’t You Remember’’ was co-written by Dan Wilson and produced by Rick Rubin, and it is described as a Country Style ballad. For the fifth track Adele worked with producer Fraser T. Smith on the track ‘’Set Fire to the Rain’’ and it features strong pop influences. The sixth track ‘’He Won’t Go’’ features soulful style lyricism with themes of R&B. The seventh track ‘’Take It All’’ features themes of gospel music and it is accompanied by a choir and piano. ‘’I’ll Be Waiting’’ is the eighth track and lyrically it talks of rekindling a lost love and is an up-beat style track. The ninth track ‘’One and Only’’ has themes of soul featuring a powerful vocal performance. ‘’Lovesong’’, the tenth track, is a cover of a track by The Cure which is then followed by the final track ‘’Someone Like You’’. The track is a piano ballad which lyrically speaks of coming to terms with a failed relationship.
"Rolling in the Deep" was the first single to be released from the album on 29 November 2010 in the Netherlands. It debuted at number four on the chart, before climbing to reach no 2 the following week. It also reached number one in Germany. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2011, and peaked at number 2.
The second single, "Someone Like You", was performed at the 2011 Brit Awards, and subsequently topped the UK singles chart for four weeks as of 13th March 2011.
In The Netherlands "Set Fire to the Rain" was released as the second single.
Upon its release, 21 received general acclaim from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 29 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". BBC Music called the album "simply stunning" and "genuinely brilliant", Australian newspaper the Herald Sun also gave the album a favourable review, saying that Adele's voice is "never-forgotten" and saying that the album is "further evidence that Adele is something special". The Guardian's Will Dean declared the album "a progressive, grown up second collection," and gave the album a four out of five star rating. The Telegraph's Bernadette McNulty gave the album five out of five stars, claiming that Adele has "a voice that goes straight to the heart," and positively compared her to other female performers: "on this album she out-divas them all". Jim Farber of The Daily News also praised Adele's voice, comparing her to various other vocalists. Giving the album 5 stars out of five, Farber writes "From start to finish, it shows Adele in alpha mode, ready to outshout any big-mouth singer of the last two decades, from Celine to Christina to (sigh) Whitney... On "Turning Tables," Adele's voice barrels out of the speakers like a provoked bull. But she can also hone that power into the most delicate phrase at will. Likewise, the gospel-soul "Take It All" shows equal parts muscle and dexterity."21" draws an unequivocal line in the sand that announces to every other diva around: Beat this."
In addition to praising Adele's voice, 21 also achieved acclaim for its songwriting and composition. John Murphy of MusicOMH compared Adele's material to Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, noting the similarity of the singing styles and overarching themes of heartbreak and unrequited love. Giving the album 4.5 out of 5 stars, Murphy states, "As the old adage puts it, from great pain comes great art. And it really seems as if Adele has been through the emotional mill here. Almost every song oozes pain, sadness and anger, but with enough swagger to banish any accusations of self-pity... Adele Adkins seemed manna from heaven from those looking (musically at least) for 'the new Amy Winehouse' back in 2008... 21 really is one of the great 'break-up' albums, and the first truly impressive record of 2011.... It's desperately sad and utterly, utterly gorgeous. Here is a timely reminder that British soul hasn't lost its mojo." Similarly, Dot Music's Ash Dosanjh writes, "If Adele's debut 19 marked her out as a young chanteuse with a booming voice, her follow-up 21 has shown a maturity in her songwriting that makes her the de facto authority when it comes to soundtracks to broken hearts." NME's Chris Parkin said "Adele’s ‘21’ is frontloaded like a steamroller sent to flatten all memory of her debut with the roiling gospel thump of ‘Rolling In The Deep’ and ‘Rumour Has It’, a swamp song so perfectly shadowy David Lynch might be fond of it". The Metro said "Overall, the album is a love story laced with regrets and cliffhanger climaxes; some numbers, including Turning Tables with its moody piano backdrop, evoke her breakthrough hit, Hometown Glory, though that’s no bad thing.
21 also garnered mixed reviews. While commending Adele's voice, Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole writes that "Adele's voice has a compelling mixture of character and sheer magnitude, such that the blandest arrangements on the album seem to disappear behind her. It's easy to imagine a studio session in which she absolutely demolishes one of 21s lackluster ballads, prompting her producers to okay a mediocre song whose faults would've been much more apparent had it been performed by a lesser talent...It's a credit to Adele's finesse that few of the songs on 21 are outright intolerable." Allision Stewart of The Washington Post agreed that Adele's vocals can mask or transcend what would otherwise be considered bland or mediocre material: "after a strong start, the disc yields to a forgettable midsection of mostly mid-tempo tracks that are remarkable only because Adele is singing them." Andy Gill from The Independent said "Three years on from her 19 debut, 21 finds Adele feigning maturity".
On 30 January 2011, the album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with first week sales of 208,000 copies, making it the biggest-selling January release in five years since Arctic Monkeys' Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not in 2006. In its second week on the top spot 21 sold an impressive 136,000 copies. On 13 February 2011, the album notched up a third consecutive week at number one outselling the top five combined with 134,000 album sales. On 20 February 2011 21 spent a fourth consecutive week at #1 with sales of over 188,000, registering a 40% increase in sales week-on-week. After her performance at the Brit Awards sales of the album surged, increasing by 890% on Amazon.co.uk within an hour. In its fifth week, Adele becomes the first act to hold the top two places in the album chart since The Corrs in 1999 while 19 climbs up to #2. As of 18 March 2011, the album has been certified five-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for shipments of 1.5 million units. The album sold 174,000 copies in its fifth week and 180,000 in its sixth. As of 20 March 2011, the album has been number one on the British charts for 8 weeks, the longest stint since Take That's Beautiful World topped the chart for 8 weeks as well between 2006 and 2007. It sold a further 162,000 copies in its seventh week, double that of the number 2 entry.http 21 has sold roughly 1,182,000 copies to date.
In the Netherlands the album debuted at number one, selling over 100,000 copies in its first week, more than the top 100 combined. The album has currently been in the Dutch album chart for five weeks at number one. 21 has already hit #1 in 17 European countries. On 2 March 2011, it was announced that 21 debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts and in Canada. The album sold 352,000 copies in its debut week in the US, the highest debut of 2011 yet, and 31,000 in Canada.http The album sold 217,000 in digital sales in its first week (which is 62% of its total). This is the fifth highest one-week sales total in digital history and the second best one-week-sales for a female artist in digital history, behind Taylor Swift's Speak Now which sold 278,000 digital copies in October 2010.http
Charts and certifications
*Amos Lee (United Kingdom—Leg 2)
*Wanda Jackson (2nd Los Angeles show)
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Adele Laurie Blue AdkinsFrehsée, Nicole (22 January 2009), "Meet Adele, the U.K.'s Newest Soul Star". Rolling Stone. (1070):26 (born 5 May 1988), known professionally as Adele,See . is a British singer-songwriter. She was the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice and was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2008 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2008. In 2009, Adele won two Grammy Awards, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, at the 51st Grammy Awards. Daily Mail Retrieved 21 February 2011 Daily Mirror Retrieved 21 February 2011
Adele attracted the attention of XL Recordings with a three-song demo posted on MySpace and subsequently signed with the label. Since her debut, 19, Adele has received much recognition both commercially and critically. The album debuted at number one, and has been certified 3x platinum in the UK. Her career in the US was boosted by a viewer record breaking Saturday Night Live episode in late 2008. Adele released her second album 21 on 24 January 2011 in the UK, and 22 February in the US. The album was a critical and commercial success, selling 208,000 copies in its first week in the UK and debuting at number one on the UK Album Chart, and also charted in the same position in nine other countries. Reuters Retrieved 28 February 2011 The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the US, selling 352,000 copies in its first week. BBC News Retrieved 4 March 2011
After an acclaimed performance at the 2011 BRIT Awards, the album track "Someone Like You" went straight to number one in the United Kingdom, while the album also remained at number one. 'Someone Like You' held the number one position for four consecutive weeks. Billboard Retrieved 21 February 2011 The Official Charts Company announced that Adele is the first living artist to achieve the feat of two top five hits in both the Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since The Beatles in 1964. Daily Mail Retrieved 21 February 2011 MTV Retrieved 21 February 2011
Life and career
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins was born in Tottenham, North London, on 5 May 1988. Daily Mail Retrieved 22 February 2011 She began singing at age four and asserts that she became obsessed with voices. Adele has cited the Spice Girls as a major influence in regards to her love and passion for music, stating that "they made me what I am today." Adele would also impersonate the Spice Girls at dinner parties as a young girl. To make her look like the singer Gabrielle, her mother made an eye patch with sequins, which Adele said was embarrassing. Adele then claimed she was influenced by the music of the Spice Girls, Jeff Buckley, The Cure, Billy Bragg, Etta James and Peggy Lee in her teens, as she stumbled on the artists' CDs at a local HMV store while looking for a new hairstyle. Adele wrote the music for her first record, "Hometown Glory" when she was 16 years old.
Adele graduated from BRIT School in Croydon in May 2006, where she was classmates with Leona Lewis.Collis, Clark (19 December 2008), "Spotlight on... Adele". Entertainment Weekly. (1026):62 Adele credits the school with nurturing her talent. In school, she was more interested in going into A&R, and hoped to launch other people's careers. Four months later, she published two songs on the fourth issue of the online arts publication PlatformsMagazine.com. She had recorded a three-song demo for a class project and gave it to a friend who posted it on Myspace where it became very successful and led to a phone call from music label XL Recordings. She doubted if the offer was real because the only record company she knew was Virgin Records, and she took a friend with her to the meeting. Billboard. Retrieved 2 July 2008. Nick Huggett at XL recommended Adele to manager Jonathan Dickins at September Management and in June 2006 Dickins became her official representative. September was managing Jamie T at the time and this proved a major attraction for Adele who was a big fan of the English singer-songwriter. Huggett then signed Adele to XL in September 2006.
Adele.jpgthumb230pxAdele performing in Kilburn, London in 2007
Adele's breakthrough song, "Hometown Glory", was released in October 2007. Adele provided vocals for Jack Peñate's song, "My Yvonne", from his debut album. Adele became the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics' Choice and was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2008 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2008. She released her second single "Chasing Pavements" on 14 January 2008, two weeks ahead of her debut album, 19. "Chasing Pavements" reached number two on the UK Chart, and stayed there for four weeks, finally remaining in the Top 40 14 weeks after its release. The album itself entered the British charts at number one. The Times Encyclopedia of Modern Music would name 19 an "essential" Blue Eyed Soul recording.
On 19 March 2008 Adele signed a deal which involved a joint venture between Columbia Records and XL Recordings for her foray into the US. In March 2008, she embarked on a short North American tour. On 20 June, the album was released in the US. The album was certified as gold in February 2009 by the Recording Industry Association of America. By July 2009, the album had sold 2.2 million copies worldwide. Adele cancelled a 2008 US tour to be with a former boyfriend. She said in Nylon magazine in June 2009, "I was drinking far too much and that was kind of the basis of my relationship with this boy. I couldn't bear to be without him, so I was like, 'Well, OK, I'll just cancel my stuff then ... I can't believe I did that ... It seems so ungrateful". In November 2008 Adele moved to Notting Hill after leaving her mother's house, a move that prompted her to give up drinking.
By October 2008, Adele's attempt to break into America seemed to have failed. However, it was announced that she would be the musical guest on the 18 October episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL). The episode was hotly anticipated, because of an appearance by then US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, SNL earned its best ratings in 14 years with a total of 17 million viewers. Adele performed "Chasing Pavements" and "Cold Shoulder", and the following day, 19 topped the iTunes charts and ranked at number five at Amazon.com while "Chasing Pavements" rose into the twenty-five. The week of 26 October the album reached number eleven on the Billboard 200, a jump of thirty-five places over the previous week. Several weeks later, she returned to the US for an 11-city tour. Adele was nominated for a 2008 Mercury Prize award for 19. She also won an Urban Music Award for "Best Jazz Act". She also received a Q Awards nomination in the category of Breakthrough Act and a Music of Black Origin nomination in the category of Best UK Female.
At the 51st Grammy Awards in 2009, Adele won awards in the categories of Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She was also nominated for in the categories of Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Adele launched a 15-city North American tour that started 9 March. Adele was also nominated for three Brit Awards in the categories of Best British Female, Best British Single and Best British Breakthrough Act. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a thank you letter to Adele that stated "with the troubles that the country's in financially, you're a light at the end of the tunnel." Adele relaunched the MTV Unplugged series with a six song acoustic set in June. On 28 June, Adele headlined a three-act bill at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. Etta James, originally slated to perform but suddenly taken ill, was replaced by Chaka Khan. Adele dueted with Daniel Merriweather on a track called "Water and a Flame" from his debut album Love & War.
In 2010, Adele received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Hometown Glory". In April her song "My Same" entered the German Singles Chart after it had been performed by Lena Meyer-Landrut in the talent show contest Unser Star für Oslo (Our Star for Oslo), in which the German entry to the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 was determined. In late September, after being featured on The X Factor, Adele's version of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love re-entered the UK singles chart at number 4.
Adele released her second studio album, 21, on 24 January 2011 in the UK and released it on 22 February in the U.S. The album's sound is described as classic and contemporary roots and country music. The change in sound from her first album was the result of her bus driver playing contemporary Nashville music when she was touring the American South. Adele told Spin Magazine that "He listened to all this amazing country music and we'd rock out late at night, chain smoking and listening to Rascal Flatts" "It was really exciting for me because I never grew up around ." In explaining the title choice, she states that it reflects the growth she has experienced in the last two years. The first single is a revenge tune "Rolling in the Deep", Adele described it as a "dark bluesy gospel disco tune." 21 hit No. 1 in Ireland, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and in March 2011 it debuted at number 1 in the United States and stayed there for another week before dropping to number 2. In the United Kingdom, where the album also hit the top spot, it sold 208,000 copies in its first week making it the biggest-selling January release in five years. The single "Rolling in the Deep" was well received by critics and has reached number 13 on the Billboard 100
Adele remained number one for the second week with "Someone Like You" and album 21 stayed at the top of the album chart for the 5th week in a row, with "Rolling in the Deep" also remaining in the top five singles chart and 19 climbing up to number 2 in the album chart despite being released 3 years ago. BBC Radio 1 Retrieved 23 February 2011 It is the first time that one act has held the top two places in the UK albums chart since The Corrs in 1999.
Adele supported Will Young at the 2007 MENCAP Little Noise Sessions, a charity concert at London's Union Chapel. In 2008 she was the headliner and performed a stripped down acoustic that was supported by Damien Rice. In July 2008, Adele paid £8,000 for a commissioned painting by Stella Vine in a charity auction in aid of Keep a Child Alive, a charity that helps African children and their families living with HIV/AIDS. Adele said she planned to ask Vine to paint a portrait of "my mum and me.", 11 July 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2008. On 17 September 2009, Adele performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for the VH1 "Divas" event, a concert to raise money for the Save The Music Foundation charity. On 6 December, Adele opened with a 40-minute set at John Mayer's 2nd Annual Holiday Charity Revue held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
She has described her musical style as "heartbroken soul." Adele agrees with critics who have suggested that her vocals are more developed and intriguing than her songwriting. She also received praises from Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, who said it was "refreshing to hear something different" after a thousand years of "identikit bands who want to sound like The Libertines." Her music was described by the Richmond Times-Dispatch music critic as "a perfect backdrop to a lazy afternoon in the coffee shop."
Adele's success occurred simultaneously with several other British female soul singers. The British press has dubbed her a new Amy Winehouse. Adele has also been linked to a third British Musical Invasion of the US. Adele commented that while this phenomenon was unexpected she was "proud to be a part of it. I'm very pleased to be riding the wave." In December she said that Duffy was The Sound of 2008 and called the comparisons with other females lazy noting "we're a gender, not a genre". Adele, comparing herself to Amy Winehouse and Duffy, said "I think Amy is hardcore," "I think Duffy is really soft – she's got the pin-up look going on. She's a proper lady. I think I'm really contemporary. And I'm just really mouthy!" By the beginning of 2009 listeners and critics started to describe Adele as unique. AllMusic wrote that "Adele is simply too magical to compare her to anyone."
Venus Zine recognized Adele on its 25 under 25 list of women for her “distinctive, unusual voice” that “blends the bubbly clarity of pop with the sophisticated phrasings of jazz and blues.
*2009: Live From SoHo (iTunes EP)
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