Adele took the music world by storm this last year and spent one-third of the entire year at #1 with 21, her heartfelt sophomore disc that dug deep into her last breakup. Something about the old-fashioned way Adele just sangand sang wellfrom the heart captured the world and eclipsed the reigning Queen Gaga. Adele's ups followed later last year with a down: an announcement she's taking a multi-year break after intense throat surgery.
Have no fear if you've gotten back on the Chanteuse Express train and need your fix. Much like with Norah Jones' similar rise a decade ago, the labels are scrambling to push out the next Adele to fill her plus-sized hole left in the market. So, here are a few thoughts, until Adele's "26" hits shelves in 2017.
The obvious choice is to pick up Amy Winehouse's posthumous collection Lioness, hastily released after her tragic death last year. Don't. There are some choice little tracks on there ( like her duet with Tony Bennett ) but mostly it's a mishmash of tracks from various parts of her short career. There's young Amy, middle Amy, and late Amy, all with different voices. Very distracting and a waste of time. As an alternative, pick up Soul Time! from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, which has the same backing band as Amy Winehouse, but twice the vocal ... and she's still alive. Big Bonus. A bit more punchy and soulful than Amy, but a nice bridge between her and Adele.
Also keep an eye out for Katie Melua's Secret Symphony album coming out March 5. Funnily enough, she flopped after being pushed out on the aforementioned Norah Jones' heels. After trying different styles to capture a market, she's now doing a soulful, heartfelt symphonic pop CD. Sound familiar? Less Adele, more Corinne Bailey Rae.
We also must mention the very-hyped Lana Del ( no relation to Corrine Bailey! ) Ray, who's "debut" CD comes out on January 31. I didn't expect much of her after her weak "other debut" under the name Lizzy Grant, but after a good nose job and some inspiration from Adele and Amy, she's back strong as a sexy siren. Oft compared to Lady Gaga for her look, attitude and calculated marketing campaign, early tracks from his new album Born To Die see her veering more Sade than Katy Perry. Promising. We'll see.
Finally, keep an eye out for Rumer's perfect Seasons of My Soul. Finally getting a US release this month after its 2010 UK release, "Seasons" is the best attempt at the sultry Burt Bacharach sound since the 1960s. Rumer's vocals fall dead ( no pun intended ) in between Karen Carpenter and Dusty Springfield and will leave you weak in the knees. Like any classic album, there's really no substitute, which can also be said of our lady Adele's 21.