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24 February 2011 @ 04:17 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #106: Adele "Someone Like You"  
While I’ve started a few of these over the last couple of weeks they’ve all staying in a half-finished state, derailed by shifting priorities. So they will see the light of day, but I couldn’t get one started and finished. When you spend all day in front of the computer, no matter how inspired you are by a track to write it down, sometimes you don’t want to sit back down at the computer to hash it out. Thanks to those who emailed asking where I’d gone to.

Adele “Someone Like You”
Written by Adele & Dan Wilson (ex-Semisonic)

I tried, but never got into Adele’s first record despite the hype that it was absolutely stunning. It just didn’t do it for me. Her new record has some really good material, but some other material that again just doesn’t do it for me. As I was telling Diane at Sony, I think I’d enjoy her more if she had a stronger accent or if her lower register on some verses didn’t bother me as much.

However, there are some gems on the new album, 21, that are simply wonderful. This diverse release is what Duffy’s sophomore album (released last fall) should have been, but wasn’t. Adele takes a step forward and branches out stylistically, whereas Duffy took three steps back after her brilliant and eclectic debut.

The piano melody is not only elegant, but haunting as Adele’s voice shines like the sun reflecting off a moving surface (it peaks and valleys so wonderfully – close your eyes and listen – picture the ocean moving in the summer breeze and the sun bouncing off the waves – or a slightly-moving object reflecting the sun’s beams). Her phrasing and passion is perfect. The chorus is the highlight and her vocal on the rising, “I wish nothing but the best…” is just brilliant. Stunning.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you too
Don’t forget me, I beg,
I remember you said, ‘sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead’

The slow shift at 3:25, stripping the already sparse instrumentation to an ever more bare piano and vocal, borders on gut wrenching. You want her pain to end, it’s almost too much, but you want her to keep singing. For the listener it’s a connection that’s felt through the music, but in the case of a true vocalist and songwriter, they are holding on because they are singing. It’s a catharsis, the only way to get through the pain.

More Adele:
Someone Like You (live in her home) – she talks about the song before performing it, but she changes the chorus a bit which drops the intensity for me a touch – still powerful and gripping
21 (the album) Track by Track interview
Rolling the Deep
Rumor Has It