Adele: What the critics say

Tuesday 05 February 2008 12:53

The Independent
UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, London, 31 January 2008

There seems little reason to complete this review, since this much is already written: Adele will be huge in 2008. By the end of the week, her debut album 19 will be No 1. By the end of next month, it will have been downloaded by tens of thousands of teens, and by the end of the year their parents will have caught on, too.

Lucky, then, that it's not half bad. In fact, it's probably the best British collection of its kind since Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, and knocks the socks off 2007 offerings from the likes of Kate Nash or Amy Macdonald...

Adele arrives on time and completes her show without mishap. Aged 19, she's already a consummate pro. She plays her album straight through, and on the first two tracks, "Daydreamer" and "Best For Last", is accompanied only by her acoustic guitar. It is electrifying, highlighting both her skilful playing and her songwriting.

There's one strange omission – the album's wonderful penultimate track "Tired" – before the show is rounded off with "Hometown Glory", her stunning, piano-led paean to London. Adele's voice is on the verge of cracking, yet she rides it out with a belting climax. And she has an excuse: she barely slept because her record company made her go on GMTV early in the morning. Get used to it, girl – there'll be a lot more where that came from.

The Daily Telegraph
26 January 2008
The tipsters' line is that Adele is the new Amy Winehouse... Adele, though, is easier to listen to than Winehouse. Her music is cleaner, less menacing: there's the bright acoustic-guitar chime of "Daydreamer", the lullaby twinkle of "First Love", the plush strings of "Melt My Heart to Stone".

Observer Music Monthly
20 January 2008

The way she stretched the vowels, her wonderful soulful phrasing, the sheer unadulterated pleasure of her voice, stood out all the more; little doubt that she's a rare singer, which another track first available on her MySpace site, "Daydreamer", confirmed. Rather than the piano for accompaniment, here she played her guitar, casting a dreamy spell. Very Joni Mitchell of N17.

The Daily Mirror
18 January 2008

... the feeling that Adele is a little derivative and still finding her own style persists. The upbeat groove to "Cold Shoulder" lifts the mood – just as it did when Massive Attack first used it.

Manchester Evening News
28 January 2008

"Best For Last" is remarkable, the understated bass guitar giving her voice room to impress, while "Chasing Pavements" requires a string quartet, a full backing band and a pianist....

The Times
25 January 2008

No one has put words and music to the long, wet, workaday Tuesday afternoons of unrequited love as well as she does on "Crazy For You". When, on "Cold Shoulder", she sings, "Whenever you look at me, I wish I was her", you feel like bringing her a saucer of HobNobs before trying to convince her that no man is worth this sort of heartache.

The Sun
21 January 2008
That combination of Joni Mitchell and Carole King could melt the sturdiest of souls. The orchestration is a delight, too. 19 proves Adele is a worthy recipient of the Brits' inaugural Critics' Choice Award. But here's hoping a good fella might cheer her up a bit for the next album.

Sydney Morning Herald
2 February 2008
... 19 is at its best principally when Adele sings backed only by guitar (the opening tracks "Daydreamer" and "Best For Last"), vibraphone ("First Love") or piano (her affecting version of Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love"). Simplicity suits her... Adele looks like one to watch.

The Observer
27 January 2008
Adele's bluesy husk and languid songs have propelled the Londoner far beyond her native scene... She may have a jazz musician's disdain for melody, but listen to her informing a lover he is a "temporary fix" on "Best For Last": "You're just a filler in the space that happened to be free...", she huffs, a schoolgirl on the top deck of a bus nonchalantly channelling Aretha.

March 2008
Already 19 sounds like the work of a young artist dusting the mantelpiece for bigger prizes to come.

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