Adele’s Pop Report Card: We Grade Her 3 Albums

Jonathan Riggs | November 26, 2015 8:30 am
Adele 19

19 (2008)

Obviously destined for greatness even at such a young age, Adele sounds like a teenager here: capable of brilliance but unapologetically unsteady. While some cuts are chiseled out of crystal, like the anthemic “Chasing Pavements” and the delicate music box regret of “First Love,” she’s still rough around the edges on 19.

It’s kind of thrilling now to hear Adele reaching for notes — and missing at times — while making surprising decisions with her vocals on cuts like “Crazy for You,” “Melt My Heart To Stone” and “Tired.” Plus, her influences are fascinatingly eclectic. (For example, “My Same” echoes The Cure’s “Lovecats” while “Daydreamer” sounds like Kate Nash’s “Birds.”) Everything, especially the slight raspiness in her voice, emphasizes the humanity in this most superhuman of singers and it’s that vulnerability that made people on both sides of the pond sit up and ask, “Who was THAT?!” when they first heard Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. Grade: B+