Adele | 21
Adele’s 21 excites and improves upon her buzzworthy debut on the strength of some great early singles and some spectacularly solid production work (from Rick Rubin, among others). Rolling in the Deep is as good a first single as you can get, with a driving Florence and the Machine vibe. Rumour Has It evokes old school gorgeous soul, and her take on The Cure’s Lovesong (though its been covered a trillion times) is surprisingly refreshing. Someone Like You closes the album in a stripped back production that allows the sadness of the song and the true heartbreak she’s able to capture come across completely free and honest. Though I would easily say it’s one of the best albums thus far of 2011, not everything is as solid as the album’s high points (and believe me the high points definitely are). There is a tendency of some songs to be massively overproduced and drown out the incredible emotional fragility of Adele’s voice, and it has a bit of “filler-itis” that plagued her first album). Taken as a whole though, you are in for a treat!