During the song's recording, which moved the entire production team to tears, Adele stated that she lost her voice, but that her vocal nuances "suited the song. On "Someone Like You," the last song composed for 21 , Adele collaborated with famed musician and producer Dan Wilson.
The singer was inspired to write the song because she was exhausted from relentlessly portraying her ex-lover in a negative light, and she decided that, although their separation was not amicable, he still remained an important figure in her life. The song's composition proved cathartic to the singer, who stated that, after she had discovered that he was engaged to be married to someone else, she realized that she needed to finally let go. And when I did it, I felt so freed.
The two sat around the piano for almost a day and brainstormed various melodies and lyrics, ultimately deciding to keep the musical production sparse: "We just wrote it on the piano and then we recorded it when it was written. It wasn't sort of like recording it and listening to it thinking 'where can we go next? The sequence of the songs on the album mirror the range of emotions Adele experienced after the breakup, progressing from themes of anger and bitterness, to feelings of loneliness, "heartbreak and regret," and finally, to feelings of acceptance.
The singer stated, "[the song] is my reaction to being told [by my ex] that my life is going to be boring and lonely and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn't stay in the relationship. And I wrote that as a sort of 'fuck you. However, she explained that the song was not inspired by the media, but was aimed at her own friends, who participated in the spread of these rumors.
Following both songs, the album's tempo subsides with its third track, the equally defensive " Turning Tables. The singer arrived at the studio upset that he kept "turning the tables" on her during their arguments, an expression that co-writer Ryan Tedder decided to reference within the song's lyrics. A country styled ballad, the song was added late into the production of the album, when a more contemplative Adele became increasingly aware of how her bitterness towards the break-up negatively coloured her perception of her former lover.
In an interview, the singer stated, "I managed to step out of the bitter mode that I was in when I was writing the record and I suddenly got really ashamed and disgusted with the manner that I was portraying someone who was really important to me The theme of reflection continues with the album's fifth track, " Set Fire to the Rain ," written with producer Fraser T Smith.
Critics note that the production created a wall of sound dynamic, reminiscent of the works of American producer Phil Spector. Blige and Lauryn Hill. Written with Francis "Eg" White , who worked with Adele on " Chasing Pavements ," the song's lyrics focus on the protagonist's devotion to an unappreciative lover. One of the only love songs not written about Adele's previous relationship, " One and Only ," the album's ninth track, was aimed at a close friend who she had always loved.
A homesick Adele dedicated the song to her mother and friends, in whom she found solace whenever she was lonely. The album then closes with "Someone Like You," which Adele describes as the summation of her attitude towards the relationship.
Adele developed a steady fan-base in Britain from the success of her first album, winning the Brit Awards Critics' Choice award in , and named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of During the week of the album's UK release on 24 January at London's Tabernacle, she performed an acoustic set of a number of songs from 21 , which was screened live on her personal website.
The major push came in the wake of the Brit awards, where Adele's emotional performance of "Someone Like You" propelled both 19 and 21 , as well as "Someone Like You" and "Rolling in the Deep" into the top five of the UK album and singles charts, a feat not accomplished since by The Beatles. Adele's appearance on the American show Saturday Night Live coincided with the guest appearance of Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, resulting in a record-breaking viewership that catapulted the singer to stardom in the U.
Less than a year later in , she won the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Chasing Pavements" , which not only broadened her fanbase but resulted in increased album sales of her first album, culminating in a platinum certification by the RIAA, by the time 21 was released in the U.
For 21 ' s North American release Columbia executives decided to use the "long tail" sales theory' as a means of shaping the album's campaign,"building a critical mass throughout February in order to reach all those people who bought 19 over a span of 18 months.
Columbia senior VP of marketing Scott Greer stated that the record company went to some of their key internet partners such as Vevo, AOL and VH1 to begin playing and advertising both her old and new material. Celebrity bloggers, including Perez Hilton, also contributed to Adele's campaign through repeated promotion. Beginning 1 February, Adele's personal site hosted a " 21 Days of Adele " promotion with exclusive daily content, including a live chat and a video of Adele explaining the inspiration for each album track.
Adele also embarked on a mini-promotional tour in New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis to reacquaint herself with the American public.
The album has produced four international singles and five singles overall. The song, along with " I'll Be Waiting , " was released unofficially in the US after both songs received major radio airplay in the summer of Adele embarked on her second concert tour, Adele Live , in support of 21 , scheduling over sixty shows across Europe and North America.
However, Adele cancelled her appearance at Minneapolis's First Avenue due to problems with her voice, and after consulting with an Otolaryngology specialist, she was diagnosed with acute laryngitis, and was forced to cancel the rest of her North American tour dates.
Following her month-long hiatus, Adele resumed the North American leg of her tour with a newly revised tour itinerary; some concerts were moved to venues with increased capacity and some additional dates were scheduled.
Eventually Adele was forced to cancel the remainder of the tour and underwent vocal surgery in order to save her voice after discovering she had a vocal chord hemorrhage. The surgery, performed by Dr.
Steven Zeitels , was a success, although there were too many tour dates cancelled for her to make up. She officially made her comeback at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards when she performed "Rolling in the Deep. Upon its release, 21 received general critical acclaim; at Metacritic , which assigns a normalized rating out of to reviews from selected mainstream critics, the album had a score of 76 based on 34 reviews, which indicates "generally positive reviews.
While both albums explore similar themes, critics generally considered 19 vocally and lyrically subdued, with the singer's "wandering vocals" underpinned by sparse production. Ryan Reed of Paste also commented that, with the exception of "Chasing Pavements," songs on 19 were "lazy" and "eschew hooks in favor of coffee-house atmosphere. Comparing both her albums, Barry Walters, writing for Spin , noted that "[On 21 ], she wails harder and writes bolder, piling on the dramatic production flourishes to suggest a lover's apocalypse.
Giving the album four-and-a-half out of five stars, John Murphy, writing for MusicOMH , compared Adele to Amy Winehouse , contending that, "Almost every song oozes pain, sadness and anger. Adele received almost unanimous praise for her vocal range, power and versatility, with Ryan Reed of Paste describing her voice as "a raspy, aged-beyond-its-years thing of full-blooded beauty.
The album was nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize. Critics at Billboard voted the album number-one of the year, while Scottish newspaper the Daily Record , editors of Amazon and the editors at Rhapsody also ranked the album at number one.
On 13 February , in its third consecutive week at number-one, the album sold , copies, outselling the top five combined. When "Someone Like You" leaped from number forty-seven to number-one, and "Rolling in the Deep" ascended five to four on the UK Singles Chart, Adele became the first living act since The Beatles in to have two UK top five albums and singles simultaneously.
In the album's fifth consecutive week at the top, 19 rose to number-two in its nd week of release, making Adele the first act to occupy the chart's top two positions since The Corrs ' Talk On Corners and Forgiven, Not Forgotten landed at number-one and two in Adele occupied the top two positions for five non-consecutive weeks between February and May Weekly sales for 21 exceeded , copies until its twelfth week on the UK Albums Chart.
It experienced its strongest sales in its tenth week at the top, in the week ending 3 April , when a Mother's Day sales boost pushed the album to a peak of , copies sold. Also in its tenth week, 21 overtook Madonna 's compilation The Immaculate Collection for the most consecutive weeks at number-one by a female solo artist. In its eleventh week, the album became the longest-running consecutive number-one album since Bob Marley and The Wailers ' Legend in , which spent twelve consecutive weeks at number-one.
On 22 May the album achieved sixteen non-consecutive weeks at number one, the longest stay at the top since the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which spent eighteen weeks at number one in As of 8 July , 21 has been certified ten-times platinum by the British Phonographic Industry BPI for shipments of three million units, as well as becoming the most downloaded album in UK history. On 17 July, after its previous eleven-week stint at number-one between February and April , followed by another five-week number-one stretch between April and June, 21 returned to the summit for a third run, marking its seventeenth, and eighteenth non-consecutive week at the top as of 24 July.
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Adele knew 21 would loom over her for the rest of her career. I can never live up to that again. They join in and sing her words back to her, some starting to cry.
Adele beams at them from behind the mic and stares at all these refractions of herself. She keeps watching them, transfixed. Buy: Rough Trade. Get the Sunday Review in your inbox every weekend. Sign up for the Sunday Review newsletter here. Skip to content Search query All Results. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Open share drawer.
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