Racking Up Plays: “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

These are the posts where I gush about some song that I’ve got a huge crush on at the moment, and you put up with it and listen because you’re a good friend.

Fun fact: Adele is a reminder of a time when singers' voices weren't processed to sound like slutty androids. (by Jelmer de Haas via adele.tv)

“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele

Although we here at All The City Lights tend to skew toward writing about maniacs who perform in little more than briefs and dungy animal masks, we are not immune to the charms of mainstream pop. While we could do without grating, brainless trash like Ke$ha, a catchy song by someone demonstrating actual vocal talent is always worthy of celebration, whether it be a local unknown or a starlet burning up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

The latter is definitely the case with this week’s featured song. Adele is currently riding the top of the Billboard 200 album chart, and the single “Rolling in the Deep” has climbed to No. 13 on the Hot 100 singles chart. In Europe it has been a No. 1 hit in five countries. A surprising number of my ignorant American friends remain unaware of the song, but that probably won’t be the case for much longer. That gives me a very short window to blab about it without looking totally out of touch, like the time I wrote about the “Bed Intruder Song” after 27 million people had already watched the YouTube video.

The Grammys are notorious for awarding Best New Artist to future punch lines, but they may have actually got it right in 2008 when they gave the award to the relatively unknown 20-year-old British soul singer. At the time I remember thinking that the industry was just blindly grasping around for the next Amy Winehouse, and maybe it was. Maybe she is.

I was one of the people saying, “Who the heck is Adele?” the next day. I immediately listened to “Chasing Pavements” to satisfy my curiosity, then immediately forgot it. “Rolling in the Deep” is infinitely more memorable and mature, as Adele’s voice roils with bluesy grit accompanied by a gospel stomp. The subject matter is typical “you’ll be sorry you did me wrong” anguish, but something to which literally everyone can relate is a good place to start when writing an international hit.

Adele’s show on June 4 at The Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco, is already sold out. Sorry, procrastinators!

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