Last week I bought two albums:
Adele’s album, her debut, is stylistically lumped in with the British Neo-soul movement (Amy Winehouse, Duffy, some Lily Allen, etc) but is distinct from her peers in several ways. While Allen’s singing comes with a sneer, Winehouse’s with the threat of self-destruction, and Duffy’s with vague sense of camp, Adele is pure heartbreak. Her voice, both husky and reed-thin, frequently perches itself on the edge of cracking or rasping itself out as she sings about being given the cold shoulder by a potential lover or finally understanding that the boy she likes is never going to like her no matter what she tells herself. Her singing is as gorgeous when hushed as it is when she soars into her upper register.
You’ll remember Blake Lewis as the ADD-ridden spaz who came runner-up to Arizona’s own Jordin Sparks last year on American Idol. Or you’ll remember him as the beat-box guy, one of the two. Anyway, even though I think Blake is very dreamy (which can sometimes be criteria enough for me to purchase an album, Duncan Sheik), I was holding out on participating in his music career. But then I put this remix of “How Many Words” on my workout mix and really liked it, then decided to bite the bullet and get the whole album. Although his producers are trying really hard to forge him in the Timberlake mold, Blake’s album is really fun. He ends up coming off like the guy trying to be like the coolest kid in school and ending up being, at minimum, entertaining to those who watch. The beats are neat, his singing is pretty good, and while the lyrics are often, you know, unsurprising, they do rhyme.
That is your pop music update for the week of July 23.