Adele 21

Didn’t have a valentine last week? Don’t really know what your situation is with a significant or not-so-significant other? Tired of all the pop club bangers that aren’t exactly speaking to you? Well, this past Tuesday marked the release of English singer/songwriter Adele’s follow-up to her debut album 19with the appropriately titled 21, a second installment in the catalog of her love life.

21is a slight departure from Adele’s first album in that the songs tackle the same subjects of love lost, found, and returned to, but in a different and more mature way. The music has grown as she has, but beware—this is definitely no sophomore slump.

The album begins with her current single, “Rolling in the Deep,” an almost gospel-like song dressed in a dark, soulful beat. Next is a danceable pop track called “Rumor Has It,” produced by OneRepublic member Ryan Tedder, with a gentle funk underscore playing in the background. A breakdown in the middle of the song showcases the simple beauty of Adele’s voice in an almost amuse-boucheto the song that follows.

“Turning Tables” is a beautiful ballad about leaving a bad relationship, sang over a classical piano and a shrill, haunting orchestra. The balance between her powerful and emotionally-charged voice and the movements and dynamic of the instrumentals is sheer perfection.

Not to be fooled for a one-trick pony, the next song on this album titled “Don’t You Remember” is a country ballad that displays the singer’s versatility. Beginning acoustically and building in the middle of the first verse, the song departs into a catchy and sweet, yet pained chorus telling the tale of coming to terms with your own mistakes in a relationship that went sour.

The fourth track, “Set Fire to the Rain,” is the reason why you might find this album in the pop section. It has everything from passionate vocals to toe-tapping, head-bobbing drums and definitely has the potential to be a future hit.

R&B lovers can find solace in “He Won’t Go,” a song about not being able to let yourself leave a troubled lover. “I’ll Be Waiting” is another upbeat song about rekindling an old romance that many will undoubtedly find themselves singing in the showers.

The picture that comes to mind when hearing the next track, “One and Only,” is a 1950s jazz club song with a struggling, pained but beautiful songbird singing her blues with her all and everything as if it’s her last night onstage and her last chance to reach out to the one she loves. The richness breaks down near the end rebuilds into a perfectly layered vocal masterpiece. This song is worth the total 5:16 listening time.

The album wraps up with an utterly amazing ballad about a failed relationship, “Someone Like You,” leaving the listener with a desire to play the entire album repeatedly. Adele’s sultry, powerful voice is nothing short of goose bump-inducing.

There’s something for everyone on this album, crossing genres from pop to country to jazz, and even a darling cover of a song by The Cure. With the voice of a fallen angel fighting for its wings back, Adele can do no wrong.