Adele – Someone Like You

First Hit #1: September 17, 2011

For a pop song, especially a pop song released in 2011, Someone Like You is almost shockingly minimal. Piano and voice, the stripped down core, no unnecessary fill, nothing electronic, it’s just these two instruments. Yet, the song is full anyway, if there were more than these two elements it would be in danger of getting too sentimental, too cheesy, maybe too manipulative. With so little there, but an intense focus and performance, it kind of just emphasizes the raw emotion of the song. Adele’s vocal isn’t perfect, seemingly deliberately so, it’s trying to sound like the morning after a night of tears, a song about coming to terms with a former lover moving on while not actually sounding like she has come to terms with it at all. And there is nothing to distract from that, no attempt to gild the lily, the distinct lack of production trickery allowing the song to feel nuanced and complex. Plus it stands out, a lack of production defining it an era which remains somewhat maximalist.

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One Response to Adele – Someone Like You

  1. musicosity1 says:

    The question in my mind is why Top 40 is not flooded with classy songs like this. Adele Adkins is a fine singer, but it’s not as if she’s the only one in the world who can sing this well. Every few years, a talented vocalist rises to the fore and sells a zillion albums: Susan Boyle (19 million), Norah Jones (50 million), Josh Groban (25 million), Michael Buble (25 million), Enya (75 million), etc. People love this stuff. And not just people, but more importantly, people who pay for albums in 2011. Like, people over age 30. The concert sales are always dominated by acts catering to that demographic, because they’re the ones who can routinely afford $100-$1000 tickets. These people will pay $50+ for an album in a cool package with some tchotchkes, which makes up for a ton of teenagers who will listen to a song and sing it to each other, but when they want to possess it, they break out BitTorrent instead of just shelling out $1.29 to Amazon or Apple. This seems like one of the ways in which the pop charts are distorted, as the bar gets lower and lower for having a #1 song while not really reflecting what people are listening to, and especially what music people are voting for with their money.

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