What makes Adele's voice so special

What is it about Adele?


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Adele's favorite song on the new album is called When We Were Young. It is one of those typical ballads that made her famous. If Elton John, Billy Joel and Coldplay were to make the really big train station, something like this would come out of it: warm bass guitar, soft standard piano chords, bell ring, huh choirs and their unmistakable voice, sometimes gentle, sometimes brittle and cutting in the chorus Force. "You look like a movie, you sound like a song", she sings. And immediately afterwards"Let me photograph you in this light". In all this pathos, one would like to see it as a parody of the prevailing instagrammatics, as a commentary on the over-medialized present, whose most beautiful moments we miss because we have to operate some device. But it is more likely that Adele is serious. Congratulations, a hymn for everyone who goes to a concert to shoot blurry cell phone videos, who photograph the description of works in the museum without looking at the paintings, who walk through everyday life with a selfie stick - it will be a hit.

Adele gathered the world's most successful pop producers for this album. They shape the charts and know exactly which sound is going to get the job done. Only when listening, one often asks oneself what actually defines Adele's own style, if one disregards her voice.

Paul Epworth, for example, with whom she won an Oscar for the song about the Bond film Skyfall won, now has the ballad for her I miss you produced. A fat Hammond bass wafts through the entire song as ostinato, on top of which sit open toms and a marching snare. Heavy, dark, powerful. But it could also sing Adele's schoolmate Leona Lewis. Water under the bridge, produced by Greg Kustin, who is also for Hello is responsible, picks up on the current eighties trend: large reverberation rooms, echo drums like back then Baywatch-Song, a love song for Adele's significant other. Only it could be interpreted by Hurts in the same way. The Swedish super producer Max Martin, with whom she Send my love wrote, put a Katy Perry stamp on her, with a third-amplified refrain, just as Pink likes it. And Dieter Bohlen's great role model Bruno Mars cheered her on the gay ballad All I ask below, in which Adele completely denies her characteristic vocal lines and melisms.

Comforting anachronist

Adele is considered a self-determined, overly critical artist who sorts out songs that she dislike, even at the last minute. But with all due respect for her autonomy, one has to ask why she decided on these eleven pieces of all things. Sounds idiosyncratic 25 in no way. It gathers nice, classic ballads for a large audience, a lot of material for Fluffy skirt Volume 587. Songs as a soundtrack to a romantic life according to late capitalist ideas. Songs for the last kiss in the rain. Songs under a cloudy sky when the unhappy lover on the beach sings her desperation into the spray. Songs like selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower, when it wasn't as sad a symbol as it is these days. They are songs for a bit of Hollywood on the porch swing. That will warm many hearts. Pop doesn't get anywhere.

But that is not at all Adele's intention. It is not moving forward, its current topic is the retrospective. She embraces millions of people in the warm cloak of memory. A look into the future would cause displeasure. Adele remains a comforting anachronist. Unlike Beyoncé or Madonna, for example, who try to set new tonal and stylistic standards with each album.

But one song on the album still stands out. His name is Million Years Ago and is based on the well-known chord formula of Autumn Leaves. In its traditional simplicity, it conveys the melancholy of a chanson, just guitar and vocals, it becomes personal. Adele talks about how she has changed in recent years, what success has made of her life. Million Years Ago can be placed right next to one of her first songs from 2007, Hometown Glory: At that time she ran through London and sang about all her neighbors and fellow human beings, the wonders of her universe. Now she sings about how she lost contact with this universe, this everyday life. It's maybe the most honest song on 25, he sums up Adele's frame of mind. She paid for her success with her freedom. She really just wants to be normal. "Life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago."If you feel like this at the age of 27, melancholy seems appropriate.