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Sony BMG
(Three stars)

Rustom Warden Sep 09, 2008
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2007 was the year of Amy Winehouse. With her unique style of Sixties soul coupled with contemporary and refreshingly bawdy lyrics she not only created a wave of excitement all over the world, but also an insurrection of female singers trying to create their own version of 21st century Sixties soul. Funnily enough, two from this new cult now referred to as ”˜the new Amys’ – Kate Nash and Adele – attended the Brit School in south London that was also attended by Ms Winehouse.

Adele opens the album 19 with ”˜Daydreamer,’ a stripped-down ditty sung over just an acoustic guitar – a gutsy move for the first track of her first album, but she works it out. Her vocals pierce through the sparse instrumentation. She duplicates this stripped-back brilliance further down the album on the bluesy ”˜Crazy for You.’ ”˜Chasing Pavements’ – the first single of the album – has a grander arrangement than the two aforementioned tracks, but without sacrificing the retro style that makes her so special. The highlight of the album, however, is ”˜Cold Shoulder’ – an upbeat retro-modern R ’n’ B blend, tied neatly together by Winehouse’s producer Mark Ronson. Further down the record, there’s an impressive cover of Dylan’s ”˜Make You Feel My Love’ and the album’s closer ”˜Hometown Glory’ is the one point in the album where she decides to get a little political ”““I like it in the city when two words collide/You get the people and the government/Everybody taking different sides.” It’s a pleasant record. Only, the “bad-girl-ness” that seemed so natural and organic on Amy’s album doesn’t seem to come about in the same way through Adele’s songwriting, at times even seeming a little forced. But this is a voice you won’t forget this year.

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