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'21,' Adele 

The young Brit with the classic voice shines on her sophomore record.

click to enlarge Adele
  • Adele

When you put a cover of an insanely popular song on your album — especially a beloved one that’s been danced to at weddings and cried to after breakups — you’re announcing yourself, in a way, to the world. And Adele’s cover of the Cure’s “Lovesong,” soars where so many others (311, Death Cab, etc.) have crashed.

The 21-year-old Brit who swept the Grammys in 2009 is flirty and seductive singing songs of love. She asks for forgiveness — but hardly begs. And, unlike so many young female singers today, she never resorts to vocal histrionics. On “Turning Tables” Adele is confident in her regret — believably sad, but learning from her mistakes. And on “I’ll Be Waiting” she rocks along easily with a jazzy piano and a brass section, singing with pipes that are too smoky for her age.

Save for a couple of so-so tracks, 21 is a beautiful album by a singer with a phenomenal, classic voice.

DOWNLOAD: “I’ll Be Waiting”

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