I was never a big fan of Amy Winehouse, finding that her touted ‘Back to Black’ recording had a backing track that sounded sloppy rather than loose and with a vocal that had a ‘blues sound’ rather than sounding bluesy. In other words I found the entire thing contrived. So when British singer Adele appeared a couple of years ago touted as ‘the next Amy Winehouse’ … I was unimpressed and never gave a listen.
Now she has stormed the charts with her new album 21, powered by the mega-hit “Rolling in the Deep”. It is a huge success, and while for many folks it has now become too overplayed to be bearable, anyone with any history in pop/rock/soul/R&B has to suck it up and admit that they love the song.
According to, it is the best selling digital album of all time:
This is a story that goes way beyond formats. Because instead of Lady Gaga, Eminem, or Katy Perry holding this trophy, Adele now holds the prize for the highest-selling digital album in the world. According to Nielsen Soundscan, which oddly reports US-specific digital albums, Adele has now shifted 1.017 million digital copies of 21, which beats the second-ranked tally of 1.005 million for Eminem’s Recovery.
Meanwhile, Adele remains a serious chart over-achiever. Instead of a Gaga-style first-week explosion followed by a fizzle, Adele’s flame is burning brightly – week after week after week. Sometimes at number one, almost always in the top five.
To me the two things – being a song with appear across genres and generations, and also being a top-seller with organic growth that overwhelms ‘product’ like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry being stuffed down our throats – are linked. Why? As I listened one day recently I was looking at images of a wide array of NASA launches through the decades, and I thought that if the song was playing during a montage of Apollo 11 it wouldn’t have been out of place. I could hear the song coming out of the old AM radio on top of our refrigerator growing up, and just as easily here it now.
Bottom line: the reason we can all enjoy the song is not only because it is a really good song and a great performance, but it is one of those true timeless classics that we could hear in twenty years without feeling embarrassed about leg warmers or mullets or fades …
Let’s take a listen:
Adele’s 21 is available on the Amazon.com MP3 Store for $10.99, which will set you up with an unlimited storage account on Amazon Cloud Music.