With all the hype and excitement over new Brit sensation Adele Adkins it’s hard to judge her new album entirely on its own merits. Especially because of the frequently mentioned similarities between Adele and Amy Winehouse which are strikingly obvious on faster paced songs like ‘Right As Rain’. However, no one could possibly say that she is merely a Winehouse clone.
Adele has considerable vocal talent, which definitely shows on the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’, even if her voice does sound strained at times. The album has some excellent tracks, and that fact shouldn’t be ignored, but one can’t help but feel that 19 is somewhat contrived, being purposely varied enough in style to appeal to fans of all ages and genres. Then again maybe this isn’t surprising as Adele hails form Croydon’s BRIT school, which boasts alumni such as Winehouse herself and Kate Nash.
Acoustic opener ‘Daydreamer’ falls a little bit flat, and seems to be an attempt to appeal to fans of the modern acoustic genre and its exponents such as Jamie T (who happens to be a friend of Adele’s.) If there is one Adele song everyone knows it is the catchy single ‘Chasing Pavements’, which debuted at number 2 in the UK chart, although this is nowhere near the strongest track on the album. ‘Cold Shoulder’ almost immediately evokes thoughts of Unfinished Symphony era Massive Attack with its string arrangements and electronic sounding beats and is one of the best songs on the album.
Adele really shines on ‘Right as Rain’ and ‘My Sane’ although these songs do have a distinctly Winehouse-esque vibe. Adele’s real talent, though, is most apparent on album closer ‘Hometown Glory’ which definitely ends 19 on an extremely high note. If Adele’s second album continues in the vein of this song she will have an indisputably great album.
19 is an album where we must forget all the hype and simply take it for what it is – a solid first album, all be it with some flaws, from an undeniably talented new artist.