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Adele - 'Rolling In The Deep'

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Fraser McAlpine | 13:26 UK time, Tuesday, 11 January 2011


For someone who is straightforwardly, transparently, a massive talent, Adele's records aren't half troublesome at times. Her earliest successes seemed to come coated in a thick layer of brushed-on egg-yolk production (or, more accurately in the case of 'Chasing Pavements', a thick layer of Eg White production), to the extent that the raw astonishment of her voice sometimes got buried underneath the swooping avalanche of immaculate perfection.

It was, at times, a bit like watching a tiger in the zoo. You're perfectly aware that there's a beast in your presence which is possessed of huge reserves of power and beauty, but something very human and restrictive keeps getting in the way.

The exception to this, obviously, is 'Make You Feel My Love': a song which, in its simplicity and power, doesn't so much free the beast as smash the zoo down; destroy the entire town around it, grow a rain forest, develop an eco-system, release the tiger; and then run for the hills.

The question is, does Adele's comeback single seek to re-capture that tiger, or send David Attenborough (or Steve Backshall, if you're more of a CBBC fan) with a camera crew, ready to watch it tear a deer to pieces?

(Bambi, you might want to stop reading around about now.)

(No video. She's laying something unspeakable bare.)

So, here's what's going on. Adele's looking back over the end of a relationship, and she wants to be perfectly clear that while it is a very sad thing that things have turned out the way they have, she's not gonna waste her time pining at home. Not when she can castigate her ex for letting everything fall apart. And when you're being castigated by someone who can sing like this, you STAY castigated.

Best of all, for once, the production is all behind her, emerging in a fan formation like a street gang, ready for a fight. The ghostly harmonies, the propulsive handclaps, the played-with-my-face piano...it's all there to support that remarkable voice in full flight. And it flies, like, really really high. The chorus alone could exfoliate an entire university, should any students be foolish enough to stick their faces too close.

And it's clearly the kind of huffy soul strop that matches her no-nonsense personality too. Rather than mimsying around town, wondering what to do with herself, she's got some poor soul by the knackers and has lifted him off the ground. Who knows, maybe she's about to dangle him off a bridge.

That's what you get if you mess with a tiger in the wild.

Five starsDownload: Out now

BBC Music page

PS: Adele! Live Lounge! Incoming!

(Fraser McAlpine)

The Beat Review says: "'Rolling In The Deep' is a sign that '21' might produce a more adult, contemporary and jazz incorporated with enough soul for our earbuds."

The Complex Media says: "I've been unable to stop playing and singing it (horribly) for days."


  • Comment number 1.

    Personally, it's not exactly my thing, but it is an excellent song.

    The release of this and her new album has come at a good time for Adele, with the recent resurgence of Make You Feel My Love, which should get the record-buying public interested in her again, and boost her chances of being successful again this time round.

    Adele could be in for a few interesting chart battles in the next few weeks - with Kesha in the singles chart, and Bruno Mars in the albums.

  • Comment number 2.

    '21' sounds like it's shaping up to be one of the best albums of the year, if this gem and the even better 'Someone Like You' are anything to go by.
    The slight change in sound is a good move, as 19 did seem a little samey and clumsy in parts and the bluesy sound here works really well.

    5 Stars I eagerly await the release of the album, just for 'Someone Like You' alone.

  • Comment number 3.

    Agreed Haducon, I've listened to her performance of Someone Like You on Jools Holland more times than I care to remember. Truly stunning.

  • Comment number 4.

    Never really cared for Adele before but this is a classic in waiting. The best thing about it is the retro feel is not just there as a gimmick, *cough*duffy*cough*, but is simply just part of the song. 5 STARS

    The videos amazing too

  • Comment number 5.

    love this song and the jamie xx shuffle! Have you heard it? It's brilliant

  • Comment number 6.

    I love this. Best Adele song yet, no doubt.

    5 STARS (would put 6 stars if it was possible)

  • Comment number 7.

    This is the easiest 5 stars I have ever had to give to a song.

    Beautiful voice that as correctly stated in the review is free to just sing and not rely on the production. Immense chorus, powerful lyrics, lovely use of imperfect cadence ( VERY rare thing in pop music) this song is simply just a class act.

    If this does not reach number 1 then there truly is no hope for mankind!!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    I see the release of Kesha's new song has been put back by a week. Looks like that chart battle won't happen after all!

  • Comment number 9.

    I was about to say lutox! About four days ago, 'We R Who We R' was pushed back once AGAIN, and is now set to be released on January 24 - there appears to be much less competition for Ke$ha that week.

    In terms of whether 'Rolling In The Deep' will get to '1... I don't think it will, purely because there's no way 'Grenade' will only spend a wekk at the top spot the way it's going.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh dear... I appear to have been struck by a severe bout of dyslexia... I did not mean to make our resident anti-JLS member KUTOX sound like a toiletry. I shall never refer to you as "lutox" again. 0.o

  • Comment number 11.


    I did have some funny alternatives to 'kutox' put my way back in my days of online gaming, but never that one!

  • Comment number 12.

    Personally adele got overshadowed by duffy and only since the grammy's 09 have people gone actually okay hype-deserved and this song is point in case of how much u can grow and evolve without going the whole 180 and as someone mentioned earlier perfect timing 19 and make u feel my love are riding high and with a comeback single as good as this miiss.adkins should surely cement herself as one of the true brit legends.

  • Comment number 13.

    Adele deserves a #1. This song just pulled me in, the vocals are great, the music complements them in everyway. And the glasses of water part of the video fits perfectly - plain, simple but real, and enthralling.

  • Comment number 14.

    If Bruno Mars and Grenade beat this absolute gem to number one whenever it's released (does anyone know?) then the world has gone mad, frankly.

  • Comment number 15.

    A superb vocal , a stand-out chorus , dripping with emotion.
    This is a fantastic song .

    5 STARS !

  • Comment number 16.

    SPIRIT, see the Jedward thread please.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    As most of you have probably heard, Britney's new single has been released early due to 'overwhelming demand', so with that out this week, and Bruno Mars notching up massive first-week sales of Grenade, looks like Adele could be involved in a 3-way chart battle this week. But with Bruno Mars' album release being pushed forward a week, Adele shouldn't have any trouble getting her 2nd no.1 album.

  • Comment number 19.

    thought I saw it in tesco today... I was like WTF? lol


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