A number of years ago in typical Ian Lidster curmudgeonly fashion I was decrying the state of music at the time and wondering what happened to originals like those in my generation. All I could hear was pap and hip-hop and other stuff that did not move like the Beatles, the Stones, or Bowie had. I put that rant in a blog.
“Not so fast, you cranky old bastard,” a blogger friend responded. “You obviously haven’t heard Adele. Indeed I hadn’t. My loss. My huge-huge loss. So, I went out and bought the CD of 21 and since that time I have never looked back. I think Miss Adele Adkins is wonderful and I love her. Not in a creepy old guy wanting to get into her pants kind of way, but as an appreciator of the most amazing talent virtually in my recall. She is so good at what she does that I find her difficult to define. Her voice can genuinely haunt me and even move me to tears.
It has been suggested that a teenager can play Adele for his or her grandmother and both will love her equally. Very few vocalists have ever been able to make such a claim. I mean, what is Adele stylistically? She’s not really pop or rock or anything conventional, she is just a superlative stylist and creator. If you are hearing the girl (she’s still only 26) you are hearing the product of an artistry that is hers and hers alone.
She’s not only brilliant as a stylist and writer/composer, she is also terribly bright and deliciously witty with a cackly laugh. A laugh usually directed at herself. I have a DVD of a concert of the songs of 21 taking place at Albert Hall. And while your grannie might love her music she might be a bit nonplussed by the hilarious and unapologetic potty-mouth of a girl raised in London’s gritty East End and unpretentiously still boasts the accent of Tottenham as well as the dirty words. Good for her.
I have tried to deduce exactly what her huge appeal is – aside from her charm and musical brilliance – and I am still a bit confounded. I got her latest (25) for Christmas and while it’s not so lost-love plaintive, it is every bit a gem. I guess it is all to do with her writing from the heart and not from a tunesmith factory. I tried to think of others who might have possessed a similar appeal. Two of Adele’s mentors were Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald. Another I might add is Tony Bennett who is still performing to sold out audiences (with Lady Gaga no less). Bennett was huge when I was a young kid with such hits as Rags to Riches and he is still going strong and appealing to an eclectic audience at a very advanced age. I wish I had a fraction of his energy.
So, dear and lovely Adele, long may you reign. You deserve to.