Friday, December 04, 2015

Better Living Through Chemistry

Well -- it turns out there IS hope for the Adele-impaired, and just in time, too.



As satire goes, I actually think this (admittedly very funny) example isn't nearly nasty enough, given the subject matter (i.e., in Frank Zappa's immortal phrase, a sensitive singer/songwriter who's making millions of dollars out of her deep personal hurt). But that's just me.

In any case, have a great weekend, everybody.

[h/t Dave™]

23 comments:

Brooklyn Girl in Queens said...

Can't. Stand. Her. All that throaty sobbing drives me crazy.

pete said...

A student brought in an Adele song she wanted to learn. I knew almost nothing about Adele except that lots of people really love her. I could not believe how simple-minded the tune was. And this was the single! It took about ten minutes to chart the thing up and I had too spend the rest of the lesson trying to find stuff to do and not laugh in this poor girl's face. And Adele is being sold as brainy pop for adults. I've decided to dig a hole in the Utah salt flats and live in it.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

You know, I finally gave "Hello" a proper listen last week, and...I'm in. I like it. Girl can sing, and if you're in the music business, that's a feature, not a bug.

Haven't listened to the whole album yet, so, who knows.

Regards,
RichD

Anonymous said...

New album is a turd according to my daughter. She liked the first two. Don't think Adele's done anything too adventuresome, yet. Perhaps she never will. Her voice was good in the beginning, despite some annoying affectations. Might not be my fix of horse, but I recognize her talent and ability. Too bad Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd are dead. She needs a good producer to oversee an entire album and get her out of this emotional quagmire.

VR - Followers of a slaughtering, false prophet hit my hometown. Those fucking goddamned, Quran memorizing terrorists murdered someone I knew! Hearts, thoughts and prayers to the victims. PC bullshit be damned.

salhepatica said...

I had Adele's first album back when an average 23-year-old woman couldn't have picked her out of a police line-up. It was good, great even, and we went to see her in Philly, where she sang her tail off while taking pictures of her audience for keepsakes. Also, she was still kind of chunky in those days, so she was hardly a pop-diva image. Two albums later, her music is pretty much the same, but because she dropped some weight and 3.5 million people actually bought her new album -- on physical media, even -- suddenly she's evil? Sorry, no. So far I don't like any of the new album as much as the first, but that's hardly the first time that's ever happened to any music listener, let alone to me.

salhepatica said...

Almost forgot -- Adele is one of two people I've ever seen in history step up to a microphone and sing while accompanied only by a bass guitar she played herself. The other person I saw do that was Nick Lowe.

Anonymous said...

Two albums later, her music is pretty much the same, but because she dropped some weight and 3.5 million people actually bought her new album -- on physical media, even -- suddenly she's evil?

Who said that?

Mark said...

The most important thing about Adele is that she sells albums, which is good for all artists selling albums. And while her audience doesn’t consist of lots of folks who buy lots of albums -- what current artist that sells 4+ million copies in a few weeks has such an audience -- I like Adele even though I know none of her songs well enough to identify them. I can pick out Adele’s voice, however, which is good enough for me. Adele is a true popular artist for reasons we can debate, but two reasons we can agree on are that 1. she attracts fans over a fairly wide age range, and 2. she sings heartfelt songs gimmick-free. This second reason sets her apart from other artists that Darren Robbins referred to recently over at THE SHIT (http://superiorshit.blogspot.com/) as “flamboyant sand castles at high tide.”

Before Adele there was Norah Jones, and before Jones was Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston and Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield -- and forgive me for leaving out others -- who can be seen as a string of popular women artists who sold big, were followed by fans across a wide age range, and whose only downside (with the exception of an older Whitney Houston) was maybe too much glitz.

And I don’t care whether Adele lost weight. We’ve all seen too many instances where popular artists suffer because of excesses, depression, eating disorders and other stuff, like flat-out stupidity. Watching Adele survive her career arc so far to me has been refreshing, and if she lost weight or regains it, who cares?

steve simels said...

The last Brit girl singer I liked was Duffy. And she was as derivative as it gets.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7ZEVA5dy-Y

Mark said...

Duffy, yes, with a very sharp ascent and a too-quick fall. MERCY, and to a lesser extent, WARWICK AVENUE were great songs that 1. I heard as riding the Winehouse wave (though Duffy had an exaggerated vocal fry AND an adenoidal sound to boot), and 2. made me feel like going to my local GAP store. But jeeeeez! MERCY had 50,000,000 hits. Monetize THAT!

More than anything else, I'm fascinated by Adele's mass success and her potential for what I think will be a long career as a pop singer.

Brooklyn Girl in Queens said...

Before Adele there was Norah Jones, and before Jones was Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston and Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield -- and forgive me for leaving out others -- who can be seen as a string of popular women artists who sold big, were followed by fans across a wide age range, and whose only downside (with the exception of an older Whitney Houston) was maybe too much glitz.

Aretha certainly does not belong on that list. She transcends the genre of "pop singer." Celine Dion is more accurate.

My problem with Adele, and a lot of other current singers, is that they treat their voices like machines, not instruments, and certainly not ways to express themselves. When Amy Winehouse sang, it was personal and not contrived (even taking into account her unique style). I can't think of anyone else I can say that about.

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Adele is only three albums into her career. So far, so good, I'd say.

I think VR has a great observation/wish about a Wexler-like figure for Adeles's career. I'd be interested to hear who folks might think that would be. And please...the first person to mention Don Was gets...well, nothing. But please don't.

OK...preparing myself for brick-bats...what about Peter Asher?

Oh, and finally...love Duffy. Especially Syrup & Honey

regards,
RichD

Mark said...

@BGIQ I thought about Aretha Franklin when I included her, and yeah, maybe I should have not mentioned her with the others -- because she's a one-of-a-kind -- and did so principally because of her pre-Atlantic Columbia recordings, which I thought were great. Celine Dion, though she drives me crazy, is another pop singer big-seller for a list of the same same, but from the start, I always imagined her as going for the Barbara Streisand/Phantom Of The Opera crowd, although she did have a string of pop hits. It's that glitz thing again.

Anonymous said...

1) All right, I just made space in my medicine cabinet and can now put Adelify next to that Swiftamine stuff Saturday Night Live was hawking recently.

2) Not that anyone's probably interested, but I'll trade you MY deep personal hurt for a spacious apartment, a leggy showgirl and a couple of nice steak dinners.

3) To which Duffy tracks are you particularly partial, Mr. Simels ?

J. Lag

Sal Nunziato said...

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed/one-named singer is king...uh Queen. Uh...my point? Anything that's not f**king horrible these days is considered fantastic. So many people I know, personally and through my blog, all seem to like Adele with an explanation. "You know, she's got a good voice, but she needs..." "You know, her first two records were good, but she needs a..." "You know, I don't mind her." Did anyone ever say "You know, I don't mind Aretha?"

Anonymous said...

I dunno, maybe they might have said that about Aretha during her Columbia years, Lee Cross and Rough Lover aside. People always think of Aretha in her classic 1967-1972 years. But "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" was her 10th pop studio album. Adele's got a long way to go. And I don't think she's ever done anything as tasteless and crass as Aretha's recent version of Amazing Grace for the frickin' Pope. That sucked and was far beyond way over the top. It was awful.

VR

Sal Nunziato said...

"I dunno, maybe they might have said that about Aretha during her Columbia years"

Fair enough. Though, I'd still put those Columbia years over Adele's records. Maybe the syrupy arrangements aren't so memorable, but there is nothing about Aretha that bears questioning.

Anonymous said...

And then there's Aretha's latter day Atlantic and Arista stuff. I'd say a lot of that is questionable. And please do check out her performance for the Pope. I'd say "there is nothing about about Aretha that bears questioning" smacks a bit of blind devotion. But if that's your trip, OK. At least we still agree about two transcendental sides of Topographic Oceans, right?

VR - I'd rather listen to Neil Young singing "Barstool Blues" while flying a plane over the coast high on smack. That's an emotive experience without all the melisma. All aboard for Zuma.

Anonymous said...

I'd say "there is nothing about about Aretha that bears questioning" smacks a bit of blind devotion.

Who said that?

Aretha Franklin is 73 years old, and has earned the right to fuck up once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Who Said That?: Fucking up is a right that has to be earned? I always thought it was innate and universal:-)

"There is nothing about Aretha that bears questioning" are the last eight words of Sal's 2nd post.

I love classic Aretha, but in small doses. A side at a time is fine. I don't give a shit about Adele. But I think the contempt for her expressed here would be wiser spent on artists more deserving.

I think Adele's capable and fixable, while many others are not. A little LSD and domination might break some of her bad habits and make her songwriting take a turn for the better. Nothing a little skydiving and heroin won't cure. The age-themed album titles don't work for me, either. Nevertheless, she seems to know what it is she wants to do. That can be good and/or bad.

Can Bob Dylan, Dave Grohl and 631,743,837 hits on youtube be wrong?

You know, maybe a lot of people hedge and qualify their feelings toward Adele because they don't want to be perceived as uncool. Perhaps they're actually listening to her in the closet crying buckets of tears like the rest of those Walmart shoppers.

She's very good at what she does. If you like that sort of thing. I'd like to shape her into something a little different, but that's just me projecting.

VR - Making you feel my love

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Sal Nunziato said...

Let me try again, re: Aretha.

I will assume we all prefer Aretha's Atlantic sides over the Clyde Otis years that came before and the high gloss Arista records that came after. My point wasn't really about loving Aretha. I could have said Irma Thomas or Gladys Knight or Baby Washington for that matter. All those artists, even at their weakest moments, sound more organic, more creative to my ears than Adele. She has one brilliant single in "Rolling In The Deep." "Someone Like You" is nothing. Nothing. Simple lyrics over a simple melody. Great, it's honest. So what? It's mediocre. And the new single "Hello" is worse. She may have two fine, slick records under her belt and whatever this new one is, but people are referring to her as "this generation's Elvis or Streisand," for god's sake. People need to chill.

Anonymous said...

Understood and agreed.

Maybe Irma, Gladys and Aretha sound more organic because they're black and American. Mediocre or not, Adele has a hand in most of the songwriting, unlike the others. Plus she's coming from a totally different place roots-wise. But don't confuse this for championing her work.

This generation's Streisand? I hope not. I could never stand that overwrought hammy bitch ... either as a singer or actress. Horrible. Insincere and laughably bad. IMO. A disgrace to her generation.

VR