Sunday 17 April 2011

Why do we all love Adele?

Earlier this year I went out and bought Adele’s second album 21. I think I must have bought it a day or two after its release. Little did I know that in buying the album I was helping to create a musical phenomenon.

The album went straight to number one, and after ten weeks she’s now spent more time at the top of the album charts then any other female artist in history.

Today in the Times, I was reading that if sales continue at its current rate everyone in Britain will own a copy of 21 by the end of the year.

So just what is it about Adele that everyone seems to love?

I have to point out, I haven’t jumped on some Adele bandwagon. I bought her first album 19 when that first came out a few years ago.

Ironically enough that’s now back in the album charts and she now has two Top 5 albums. Up until last week Adele still had two top 5 singles – a combination no artist has managed since the Beatles.

I don’t normally expect artists that I’ve liked from day one to become a huge phenomenons. It’s easy to think that if an artist is liked by too many people then there must be something wrong with them. There too safe, dull or unchallenging.

I’m not going get all pretentious about such things. If I like something that I think's good and millions of other people feel the same then fair enough.

The thing is I’m still trying to figure out why Adele? Why now? And Why this album? A lot of 'whys' I know.

I’ve heard various theories – Unlike her females contemporaries like Lady Gaga, Rhianna or Amy Winehouse, Adele seems pretty normal and down to earth girl from Tottenham, North London.

Then there’s the argument that she’s a ‘throwback’ to another era, a straightforward singer where the focus is on the power of her voice and nothing else. Her success is due to her own singing and writing talent. She hasn’t been propelled to fame because of X Factor, or tried to create an image that’s overtly sexual or controversial.

Again I wouldn’t disagree with that, but I’m sure there’s lots of singers out there you can say the same thing about.

With declining record sales and an increasing fragmentation of the music market, a success story like Adele’s does seem even more significant.

The music industry and critics start asking questions on how this success has come about, what’s been the magic ingredients and formula for this success, what does it mean for the music industry.

I like to think that a good voice and strong songs will always go some way in helping to create a successful recording artist, but sometimes you have to accept there isn’t always a logical or obvious reason behind an artist or album selling millions.

Some albums come along and it just happens. Sometimes it’s a case of good timing, but then I think there’s a lot of other unknown factors that can contribute to an artist’s success that no marketing campaign or musical talent can ever account for. I suppose that’s what makes music so interesting.

If you’ve got the Adele album, you should leave a comment on why you think the album’s proved so popular.

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