By guest blogger Mike Brown
Isn’t it funny how musical tastes can change?
Ten years ago, as a teenager, I was a self-confessed heavy metal addict. I was on a musical diet of nothing but big hairy, bearded, tattooed men with serious anger issues. Then, during a few rebellious years I got involved in my local punk rock scene and I became a devout follower of all things punk (spikey hair and safety pins included.)
I’d always listened to a variety of music growing up, inheriting a lot of my fathers taste with bands like Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel.
As an adult, my tastes have widened and widened and now my Ipod has a healthy variety of snide, screaming, synth, psychedelic, pop, dubstep, drum and bass and early Hip Hop.
Having said that, there is a large percentage of my music collection that would never appear on conventional pop music charts. Every now and then a song comes along that blows my mind, and puts the teenage metal-head in me at a loss for an excuse.
One such song is Adele’s “Someone like you”.
I heard Adele when she released “Chasing Pavements,” but it went sailing quite innocuously over my head.
This song however shows something different to the usual music that appears in charts, and it’s chart success (10 weeks at the top of the UK album chart- a record for female solo vocalists,) is only testament to it’s power.
Firstly it is sung by a lady who isn’t conventionally attractive, but has a hell of a voice. And while you could argue the same thing for Susan Boyle, this simply reeks of unadulterated talent and excellent songmanship as opposed to Susan Boyle who is a glorified Karaoke singer. She has a stunning voice and that’s all you really need. There are a few female vocalists in the charts who can learn a lot from her understated style.
Secondly, it is gorgeous in it’s simplicity. Piano and vocals are often overused, and can sound bland and repetitive, but here, though the refrain is the same throughout, it sounds fresh every single time I hear it.
It also doesn’t have the same emphasis as many other songs in the charts. It hasn’t been sexed up, dumbed down or glossed over. And most importantly, no auto-tune. The above video is recorded live on Jools Holland’s regular live shows from the BBC (an excellent place to pick up on new and obscure acts,) and sounds identical to the recording.
The album “21” is pure velvet, from beginning to end and is well deserving of the accolades and fame that have been bestowed upon it.
Whilst ten years ago, I’d have kicked you in the chest and ripped out your liver if you tried to get me to listen to anything that wasn’t littered with expletives and salutes to Satan, now I’m a man, and I’m not ashamed to say it, Adele gives me goose pimples. Check her out. You’ll be grateful.