Album: Adele, 21 (XL)
Three years on from her 19 debut, 21 finds Adele feigning maturity – "I was a child then", she claims in "I'll Be Waiting" – though in many cases here, that apparently involves a sad capitulation to the kind of dreary ballads and overwrought delivery that does her few favours.
Things begin well enough with the single "Rolling in the Deep", with its thumping piano quadruplets and gospelly backing vocals, and continues reasonably with the galumphing Tom Waits-style arrangement of "Rumour Has It"; until, two-thirds of the way through the song, it grinds to a halt for a slower, torchy middle eight. This proves a harbinger of the rest of the album, which sinks into a mire of turgid, characterless piano balladry swamped in routine string arrangements, the sole respite from which comes in the deep soul number "One and Only", her best vocal performance here.
DOWNLOAD THIS Rolling in the Deep; Rumour Has It; One and Only
Arts & Ents blogs
Mathew Jonson has been a hero of mine for quite some time now. His timeless piece, Marionette, was o...
We love London for its multiculturalism, so we’re all about that cross-cultural life this weekend by...
Owen Howells is a DJ/producer who grew up in Australia but was born in the UK. He came back to the U...
Fish Love: Broadchurch star Arthur Darvill poses nude with un poisson
Written on the body: Tattooists at pains to point out their artistic credentials
Walt Disney: One man and his mouse... and how they blighted our world
Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
Roman Polanski shakes Cannes Film Festival
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.