I'll Be Waiting
Label: XL Recordings
Adele's shtick seems to be album titles that completely belie the old soul inside. 21 sounds like no 21-year-old. Adele spends most of her sophomore album dominating styles she has no business knowing how to sing so intuitively, from the rafters-shaking, revival-ready "Rolling in the Deep" to the big, brassy '70s rock of "I'll Be Waiting." Elsewhere, she croons weathered ballads that sound more lovelorn than someone so young should (see "Turning Tables," a "Chasing Pavements" redux down to the syllabic structure). Still, her rich, distinctive, well-aged vintage pop has serious legs: 21 sent Adele skyrocketing to the top of the charts.