VH1 Unplugged: Adele premieres online March 3 and airs March 4 at 11/10c.
After watching the taping of Adele‘s VH1 Unplugged today, it makes perfect sense that she performed for VH1 Divas in 2009. Adele has a huge and distinct voice, exudes both confidence and vulnerability, and keeps an audience on edge with mildly shocking vulgarities and amusing lapses of Too-Much-Information. Also, her second album, 21, to be released Feb. 22 in the U.S., is all about heartbreak, a familiar topic to the classic soul divas she emulates. Adele kicked off the show by singing “Someone Like You,” a new ballad that is the dead opposite of “First Love” from her first album, 19, in that she’s not the one who needs to “taste the kiss from someone new.” This time, it’s the guy’s turn:
I heard that you’re settled down.
That you found a girl and you’re married now.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.
As her Unplugged set continued, it became clear that Adele is still reeling from a breakup. She’s openly angry and bitter about it. She wants to move on, but can’t quite let go. Perversely, her pain is our gain. Because some of the best pop albums, from Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours to No Doubt‘s Tragic Kingdom, come from riding a wave of creativity propelled by “breakup pain.” 21 is no different, and Adele’s raw emotion characterized this Unplugged and gave the audience chills. See Twitter’s @crying b/c he met Adele.”“
It seems that Adele’s pain, coupled with a few years in the spotlight, may also have helped knock out the nervous jitters that sometimes visible during her first U.S. tour. She doesn’t even need to smoke (“I’m 16 days clean” despite being “mad I don’t smoke anymore!”) to calm her nerves. The Adele we saw at Unplugged was raw but poised as she performed her biggest hits, including “Chasing Pavements” from 19 and “Rolling In The Deep” from 21. Adele, the newbie with one hit album, is gone. Now she’s a veteran diva.