The last we heard from Adele, she was carting around two well-deserved Grammys for her wins for best new artist and best female pop vocal performance.
That was nearly two years ago and the “Chasing Pavements” singer has been fairly quiet since then, but Hitfix got a sneak listen to four songs from her forthcoming album at a very intimate, invite-only performance by the British singer at Los Angeles’ Largo Theater.
With a red-velvet backdrop and surrounded by antique lamps, an admittedly nervous Adele previewed four songs from her second still-untitled album that comes out in February.
First single, “Rolling in the Deep,” goes to radio in mid-November and will coincide with an appearance on “Ellen.” The melodic and beat-heavy thumper showcases a side of Adele not heard on “19,” one influenced by her exposure to Wanda Jackson, the pioneering country and rockabilly star. “I really got into her,” Adele said, admitting a little obsession with the singer.
Like “Rolling,” the other three songs dealt with heartache. Adele’s lyrics are like an open wound, still smarting and raw, delivered in her pure soprano that cuts through any clutter and soars above the notes.
On ballad “Someone Like You,” she sings about a past love who has found someone else. She’s trying to be happy for him, but is blinded by her inability to move on as she tries to find someone like him over and over again. “I’m shaking,” she said after performing the song accompanied only by a pianist. “I get upset whenever I sing it.”
Adele recorded much of the album in Malibu and recalled how Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” saturated the airwaves as she was in the studio. “ I really got into it,” she said, adding that she’s thinking of going to Nashville for some writing sessions. We’re holding our breath for an “Adele in Nashville” album (yes, all references to “Dusty in Memphis” are intentional). While the torchy “Don’t You Remember” recalls Lady A, the song is vintage Adele as she admits to “A fickle heart, a bitterness, a wandering eye and a heaviness in my head,” but she begs her ex, “dont u remember the reason you loved me before?”
Adele collaborated with hitmaker OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder on two tracks including “Turning Tables,” a ballad about a fighting couple. “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me,” Adele sang, eyes closed, fingers fluttering.
She closed with “Pavements” and “Hometown Glory,” which the now 22-year old wrote when she was 16. The small crowd wanted more, but she begged off. “My voice has been dormant for months, it’s pissed off at me” for putting if back to work, she said. Her voluminous voice sounded perfect to us in this very welcome return.