Feb. 25, 2013

Adele: I Don't Get The Hype

Personal taste and opinion are VERY subjective, but I did notice something watching Adele and Barbra Streisand sing on this year's Academy Awards telecast. I noticed how hype still rules the day in entertainment and fans have very little to choose from when it comes to music these days.

Adele Adkins is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter, who has won everything under the sun, including an Oscar for "Skyfall." Well done girlfriend. Great song. The recording was well-done also. I like the song. Is she all that? Not in my opinion.

Her albums "19," "21" and singles "Someone Like You" and "Rolling In The Deep" are fine tracks, but do they hold up with great divas of the past such as Carole King, Dusty Springfield, Streisand, Lena Horne, Peggy Lee, etc? I'm not saying she won't measure up to those great singers. I'm leaving a lot of worthy contenders like Bette Midler, Dianna Ross and the late Amy Winehouse out.

Her performance on this year's Oscar telecast was mediocre at best. Just moments after her pedestrian performance of "Skyfall," Barbra Streisand schooled her with a tearfull rememberance of "The Way We Were," which was dedicated to the late Marvin Hamlish, who composed that Oscar-winning song from 1973. Streisand outsang, outperformed Adele and was pitch-perfect nailing that song at age 71.

Music is subjective. We all have our opinions of what we believe to be great. I am not really a fan of Streisand, but I know greatness when I see it. She is still great. Adele is not great. Not yet. 

Who is out there currently performing original new material to be compared with Adele? Maybe Nora Jones, who was brilliant on that same Oscar telecast singing her losing song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from "Ted." Jones is not quite as high profile as Adele these days, but certainly belongs in the conversation.

In the 1960's/70's there was Lulu, Dusty, Jackie DeShannon, Babs, Petula Clark, Carole King. Linda Ronstadt & Midler. There were more, but I just wanted you to get the idea that the playing field is a lot smaller here. Later we got Madonna. That is another story.

It is like the 1990's when there was Michael Jordan and little or no competition on the basketball court. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Isaiah Thomas were all on their way out and it was left to Jordan to be a one-man show in the NBA.

Is it Adele's fault? NO. She is a fine singer and songwriter. She just does not yet belong in that class of artist. There is too much hype in this social media age. It took for me to see Streisand absolutely outclass her to have it really hit home.

Let's just see if Adele continues on and puts out CDs that resonate into her late 20's and 30's. I will be listening.