Sound: The young UK singer’s vocals have the sprightly dynamics of Regina Spektor and Bjork and the rich, rasp of Amy Winehouse. She hops from acoustic folk to jazzy soul to orchestrated pop to indie rock and more. Yes, 19 has a classic, vintage feel, but it’s modern enough to be considered contemporary music.
Heavy Rotation tracks: “Cold Shoulder” (Top 20 Songs of 2008 Candidate); “Daydreamer”; “Right as Rain”; “My Same”; “Crazy For You”
Medium Rotation tracks: “Make You Feel My Love”; “Chasing Pavements”; “Best for Last”
Recommended: Adele has arrived as a distinct and powerful voice. She pulls off an astounding number of stylistic risks on 19 and proves there’s very little she can’t do. Occasionally, the arrangements can get too slick, but on the whole the moments of bloated production are minor distractions. The large majority of the time Adele seizes your attention as she establishes herself as one of 2008’s premier newcomers.
Grade: A (Strong Top 20 Albums of 2008 Candidate)