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Music Review: Adele – iTunes Festival: London 2011 [EP]

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There is no substitute for talent. Nothing excites like the real deal, and Adele is all that and then some.

Indeed the British songstress has captivated the masses like few other contemporary artists could hope to these days, consistently shattering music-industry records — this past week her sophomore LP, 21, became the most-downloaded album ever — and with a just-released EP highlighting her recent performance at the iTunes Festival in London, she keeps right on thrilling.

“Rumour Has It” and “Rolling in the Deep” are both delivered with fresh, mischievous intensity — at times on the latter Adele hands off the vocal to an already euphoric audience, which comes through like a megachurch choir — her voice commanding its way through these tribal-thumping powerhouses.

Then with a ballad like “Take It All” she breaks your heart in half, mustering emotions so raw and with such naked vulnerability that by the end of it you feel like you’ve been run through the mill. To just piano accompaniment she breathes new life into Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” as well, with similar intimacy and conviction. This above all is why Adele resonates with so many listeners. She sounds like she feels it, like she means it. And with a much-anticipated North American tour slated to start on August 9, this brief set offers a fine preview of what they can expect from her in person.


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About Donald Gibson

Donald Gibson is the publisher of www.writeonmusic.com and a freelance music journalist whose byline has appeared in such publications as No Depression, Spinner, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cinema Sentries, Blinded by Sound, and Blogcritics, where he was the Senior Music Editor (2011-2012) and Assistant Music Editor (2008-2011). He has interviewed and profiled such artists as Tony Bennett, Lucinda Williams, Jakob Dylan, Allen Toussaint, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX, Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), Susanna Hoffs, Bruce Hornsby, Delbert McClinton, Jonny Lang, Alan Parsons, Bill Frisell, Rickie Lee Jones, Christina Perri, Don Felder (The Eagles), Jimmy Webb, Katie Melua, and Buddy Guy, among many others.