With Rick Rubin Co-Producing along side Co-Producers & Co-Writers Paul "Phones" Epworth and Ryan "Apologize" Tedder you'd hope you'd be getting an edgy pop album... and the first two songs deliver on that promise, then the album quickly nose dives into pop blandness to only be subtly revived in the middle with the funk of "He Won't Go" and then sucked completely of all hope of recovery by the time you've reached the lifeless cover of The Cure's "Love Song" and the vanilla torch ballad and 2nd single "Someone Like You". Don't get me wrong I really like Adele's voice but with that lineup in the booth and at the mix desk I was hoping for more.
On "Rolling in the Deep" Adele & Paul Epworth (Producer of Cee-lo Green, Florence & The Machine, Bloc Party & The Rapture) delivers the goods with a solid, edgy pop number, dare I say a classic, something that you'd expect to come from a glossy version of Beth Ditto. Or maybe that's just what's lacking, I hear a similar vocal quality as Beth Ditto just minus the experience, attitude and "Soul".
"Rumor has it" comes stomping in as song number two and owes as much to Soul revival as it does Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus". The slinky tune is filled with fantastic background vocal hooks and a smaltzy but effective breakdown and is produced by Ryan Tedder of One Republic and "Apologize" fame. He's produced & co-written for others including Beyonce, Leona Lewis and a bunch of other pop tarts you've already forgotten about, but really "Apologize" is his calling card.
The last song on "21" to catch my ear is "He Won't Go", Co-Written by Adele and Paul Epworth and produced by Rubin. This one barely made the cut, but as it hit the grove on the chorus it was undeniable. Like something from my early 80's top 40 radio listening youth, it takes me be back to something that I can't really articulate well, just to simply say it's something engrained on my DNA. Damn good groove.
Overall 3 out of 5 stars for the hopes that by her 3rd record she'll head in a more interesting direction and lay off the vanilla. Fingers Crossed.
Bonus clip of Adele playing "Rolling In The Deep" Live: