Best music of 2011: Adele
Adele is an incredibly rare commodity – a best-selling artist with jaw-dropping talent, a unique sound and unconventional style. Her voice could move mountains and I am convinced she could turn even the Australian tax legislation into a stirring chart-topper. She’s inspired by the great women of jazz – the kind of women who were singing in bars that they often, due to racial and sex discrimination, weren’t allowed to drink in – and exudes this kind of chutzpah herself – having the confidence to squarely reject the unwritten law that all women be size 6, regardless of their other life priorities, famously saying “I don’t want to be on the cover of Playboy or Vogue. I want to be on the cover of Rolling Stone or Q. I’d rather weigh a ton and make an amazing album than look like Nicole Richie and do a shit album.”
In writing this, I have to pay tribute to the late, and incredibly great, Amy Winehouse, whose equally unique talent, sound and style created a business case for record companies to take on singers like Adele. Together, these singers have introduced a new generation to a jazz-soul sound that is a million miles away from the same-same albums they tend to share the charts with.
Everyone has heard the singles from her powerful January release, 21, by now. So my pick is a gorgeous southern-American b-side that, counter-intuitive as it is, leaves you longing to feel desperately and hopelessly in love in a Louisiana dust bowl.