Adele's second is personal and perfect

Associated Press
Updated 2/24/2011 11:57 PM
  • Adele, "21" (Columbia Records)

    Adele, "21" (Columbia Records)

"I heard that you're settled down, that you found a girl, and you're married now," Adele sings softly on the closing track, "Someone Like You."

"I heard that your dreams came true, guess she gave you things I didn't give to you," she continues over a simple piano melody.

"Someone Like You" is just one of 11 perfect tunes Adele co-wrote on her sophomore CD, "21," as a heartbroken Adele tries her best to keep a stiff upper lip while lamenting about what once was -- and what could have been.

The disc finds the British singer tackling a recent breakup. On most of the tracks, she's trying to convince her former lover that she is "the one" -- and she sounds so convincing that listeners will wonder what's wrong with Adele's ex for letting her go.

She sings a loud plea on "Don't You Remember," ending with the question: "When will I see you again?" On "I'll Be Waiting" -- highlighted by the saxophone, trumpet and more -- Adele is ready to change, "be somebody different" and "better to you." And on "One and Only," she's bold, singing with a beautiful screech: "I dare you to let me be your one and only."

Even if she did something wrong, it's all right in our book, thanks to Adele's killer voice, which is raw and soulful. Throughout "21," she hits all the right notes at the right moments -- and then some.

She sounds epic on "Set Fire to the Rain" and "Turning Tables," which also gets a boost because of the delightful sounding strings. And on the drum-filled "Rumour Has It," Adele plays the mean girl, sounding confident, sassy and in control.

"21" is the follow-up to Adele's 2008 debut, "19." That album had gems like "Chasing Pavements," "Melt My Heart to Stone" and "Hometown Glory," helped her win two Grammys and gain worldwide fame. But with "21," Adele, who is now 22, has created more than just an album with good songs: She's crafted a masterpiece. Can't wait for "25."

Check this out: There are many top-notch collaborators on "21," including Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth and Dan Wilson. But the Ryan Tedder-produced "Rumour Has It" is the disc's most adventurous track, full of lovely hand claps.