21 - Adele
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Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 370 Ratings

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  • Summary: The British singer’s sophomore album is full of soul and pop rhythms, comparable to Amy Winehouse and Duffy.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. Jan 27, 2011
    100
    21 is simply stunning. After only a handful of plays, it feels like you've always known it.
  2. Mar 4, 2011
    90
    There's not a slacker in the bunch on 21, which is hard enough for many an artist to pull off at 31 – or even 51 – much less at an age when they're still too young to rent a car on their own
  3. Jan 27, 2011
    80
    A progressive, grown-up second collection, it ought to ensure Adele is around for 23, 25, 27 and beyond.
  4. Jun 14, 2011
    80
    Hearing a voice that grows scratchy and threatens to break and has not been tampered with, has not been slicked over in a studio, a voice that reveals all that can be found within a person and also seems to hold something back, to suggest another truth just behind the veil.
  5. Feb 1, 2011
    70
    For all of her posturing and ruminations on life, love and other such considerations, you may well ask yourself whether she is merely playing a part and recycling old themes or if she has the experience she so eloquently sings about.
  6. Apr 7, 2011
    70
    Her sound is undeniably more mature than what you would typically expect from a 21-year-old, but tracks like "Don't You Remember" make you wonder if the overall vibe is more mature than it should be.
  7. 40
    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.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 100
  2. Negative: 19 out of 100
  1. Jun 21, 2014
    10
    For all those stupid people who talked bad about my beautIful Adele : you can all go **** your self **** this album is a 101% the best!!!!!!!!!! Daydreamers hold me Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2013
    10
    One of my favorite artists of all time, soulful, true to herself, genuine, moving, and every track is so enjoyable and wonderful, done with so much respect to original artists when a cover is done I love you Adele! Expand
  3. Mar 4, 2011
    10
    This is the best album of this year so far. All of the songs here are well-written and full of emotion that the audience can easily relate themselves to. With an instant classic and Grammy-nominated potential album like 21, I really cannot believe why it got only 76 points. All the mixed reviews are full of hatred and maybe the people who wrote those reviews need to check their definition of what is called " true music " ! Expand
  4. Nov 17, 2012
    8
    Oh, dear reader, I still stand by my belief that Adele is massively overrated. I still believe that the magazines and public idea that Adele is great for Expand
  5. Jan 6, 2013
    7
    21 is a very good album as a whole. But looking at all the acclaim that 21 has garnered for itself, it's not very surprising that it will fall short of many people's expectations.

    Six Grammys aside, was 21 really worth all the media attention; the accolades? The album skilfully deals with one dominant theme in particular; heartbreak. Anger in 'Set Fire to the Rain', sadness in 'Don't You Remember', irony in 'Rumour Has It', hopelessness in 'Take it All', revenge in 'Turning Tables', sincerity in 'Someone Like You', so on and so forth. Adele scrutinizes and carefully analyzes the single theme of heartbreak from many different perspectives as she tries to justify each viewpoint. Perfect for sappy little teenagers to quote on Tumblr pretending that it relates to them in one way or another.

    There are some other themes, like in He Won't Go, Lovesong and One and Only, that still deals with love at its most trivial; just barely escaping the topic of heartbreak. But who could claim that these were actually the highlights of the album? Perhaps it was the heartbreaking songs that had put 21 in the limelight, because variety just couldn't have been it. It's great to have an exceptional songwriter every once in a while amidst commercial songstresses like Katy Perry, Rihanna and Britney Spears who barely write their own songs, or Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen who aren't as deep or intelligent as they might seem to be. But it wouldn't kill her to add in a little variety; spice things up a little, in the hopes that maybe, if she's feeling really creative and inspired, she'll even write songs which are not about love! Love is an evergreen topic a composer can rely on, but if one lets their career evolve around the same damn thing, it won't still be entertaining after a while. Now, she could explore with other genres and try out new things; which she hasn't, even since 19. Lady Gaga has been criticized for being so experimental she's losing her signature sound. Marina and the Diamonds and Lana Del Rey have been criticized over repetitive production in Electra Heart and Born to Die respectively. It's fascinating to know how Adele has escaped the critics in this area.

    Her vocals couldn't have been it either. She performs great live, but so would many other popstars today if all they did was stand in front of a microphone and sing while occasionally throwing shade and being a little profane in a British accent.

    You see, when people hear the word 'Adele', they think of heartbreak and sadness. The plump British girl who can sing. Social acceptance, perhaps. All the assumptions start rolling in that she's had a troubled past full of insecure misfit tragedies.

    I've never mentioned that more often than not, pity might have impaired the general public's impression of the album; what you interpret of what I'm writing is solely up to you. Sympathy may have had a role to play in Adele's respected image, but then again, I'm not pointing fingers. Essentially, there will always be off-stream artists who are better than Adele in terms of songwriting and singing, work even harder, and is just waiting for that big break but never really got by to achieve that. Whether or not one feels that her vocals forgive the fact that Someone Like You becomes the most overplayed song of the decade, or whether or not her songwriting justifies that she can still just stand on stage and still be a good performer; will be different for everyone to judge. But it's hard to deny that 21 will make an ideal playlist as for whoever is facing a difficult time getting over someone, or at least aspire to be in that mood for who knows what. While 21 may not fit into that idealist mold you've created for the perfect album you're seeking for, it's worth a listen or two. Not all would be impressed by her long notes and not everyone would appreciate the attention she's put in the little ideas she's came up with while pondering about love. But every now and then it's bound to come to you as 'almost interesting' or 'nearly relates to me'. I still have 21 on my daily playlist; Don't You Remember, Set Fire to the Rain, I'll be Waiting and Rumour has it being one of the better played songs. Adele stays in my music player as one of the well-played crooners beside Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Bruno Mars and ABBA. Ultimately, whether or not I feel that the album is great will not change the fact that I still choose to listen to it everyday. So occasionally I will skip a few Adele tracks to listen to pretentious, manufactured Korean Pop singles, for pretty faces and a catchy beat are more than enough to grab my attention for a while.
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  6. Apr 3, 2012
    5
    Adele intrigues us with something new for the first two songs, but then it all fades away into boring and banal same old-same old melodies about a cliché - he left her, now she's sad. Adele could have just put "Someone Like You" instead of the most part of the album, and the effect would have been be the same Expand
  7. Nov 12, 2012
    0
    Morose, Dull, Uninspiring, Middle of the road, Non-offensive blandness. Of course everyone is drawn to her as shes a stripped down pseudo soul-pop singer who popped up as a counter to the over the top electro-pop trend, right place right time. Imagine if she released this album in the mist of the mid 00s when this stuff was all over the place, no one would bat an eyelid..much like her first album as a matter of fact.
    A great songwriter she is not (for one read the amount of songwriters credited on each song, not so personal as she claims) the lyrics are nothing that Alanis Morrisette or Liz Phair have done before, and Adeles lacking the punch and passion of the former. Instead were met with a collection of easy listening flat instrumentation with cliche break lyrics knitted to very standard Melody.
    Adele was among a batch of artists in the UK that came about after Amy Winehouses Back to Black had got big alongside Duffy and Gabrielle Cilmi, Adele timed her release just right and she filled the hole for when Amy Winehouse died to claim the throne of queen of the middle of the road pop. Not too cheesy to alienate parents, not too retro to alienate the teenagers. The music being artistically flat has no bearing on what people are looking for in Adele. Why have groundbreaking, experimental and challenging music when you have this teenage-white girl singing mature orientated songs? I think peoples admiration of her is more down to the fact that she lost a load of weight, rather than her raw lyrical output. Lets see where she is come release of her next album.
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See all 100 User Reviews

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