Music

Adele's Grammy-Winning '21' Turns 10

On its 10th anniversary, L'OFFICIEL looks back at Adele's most-loved album, '21.'
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Ever since her debut album 19Adele has been a pillar of the 21st-century music industry. Throughout her career, she has accumulated a fleet of acclaimed awards attached to a total of three studio albums. The UK-born singer graduated from the Brit School for Performing Arts & Technology in 2006 with the hope of pursuing a profession in the Artists and Repertoire field. However, instead of helping young musicians grow into industry powerhouses, she became one herself. Four months after ending her schooling, a three-song demo she recorded went viral on Myspace. As the demo gained traction, Richard Russell of XL Recordings reached out to Adele and ultimately got her in touch with her manager, Jonathan Dickins. Soon after, she officially signed with XL and began releasing music.

By 2008, Adele's success was unimaginable. She won the first-ever Critics' Choice award at the Brit Awards and had the world watching her every move. Finally, the break-through artist dropped her first album, 19. It's no surprise that the album swiftly snagged the number one spot on UK charts and stayed there for weeks. This success was merely a glimpse of what her future would hold.

In 2011, Adele dropped her second studio album, 21, on January 24. The musical masterpiece defied all odds by finding immediate success and acclaim despite being produced by an independent record label. Regardless, Adele's talent came as no surprise. Songs like "Rolling in the Deep," "Rumor Has It," and "Someone Like You," took the world by storm as international chart-toppers.

Rolling in the Deep (Official Music Video)

The album as a whole was inspired by a disheartening breakup with one of Adele's long-time boyfriends. "Rumor Has It" specifically addresses the hurtful gossip that circulated around the media at the time of her breakup. In the song, Adele suggests that it was her own friends that were spreading this intrusive gossip. In the catchy "Set Fire to the Rain," the singer speaks on sturggles of letting a previous love go. When listening to each song on the album it is evident that Adele deliberately disclosed intimate details about her relationship and the sadness that followed its demise.

Altogether, the album was loved by fans and critics alike. Her strong vocal performance resembled American Blues with an added vintage twist, which was something modern listeners were not used to but enjoyed nonetheless. Ten years and one album later, 21's cross-cultural appeal and pure musical accomplishment have not been forgotten.

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