Mackenzie Cummings-Grady Journal Staff
When Adele released her album 21 last year, it went 10x platinum and was deemed the greatest album of the 21st Century by MTV, Rolling Stone, and contemporaries alike. The album still reigns supreme as the highest selling pop album in history and is currently placed at number ten on the Billboard Top 100.
Unfortunately, after the global success of 21, Adele was forced to cancel multiple tour dates and performances due to a serious vocal hemorrhage that resulted from her chain-smoking habit. From then on, gossip on the British singer faded to black. She was last known to have undergone microsurgery in November of 2011.
Then, out of the shadows, Adele released “Skyfall,” the next anthem to the James Bond film of the same name. “Skyfall” is Adele’s first studio release since 21 and the song reassures fans that all is well. While “Skyfall” may not be Adele’s strongest vocal performance, it does satisfy Bond fans and Adele fans alike with a bold, brash sound that both the 007 films and the singer are known for.
The chemistry between the Bond “sound” and Adele’s voice is undeniable; with a 21-piece orchestra behind her, Adele takes advantage of almost every opportunity to make the theme her own.
However, I do believe that without the strong ensemble, this song wouldn’t have resonated nearly as powerfully with audiences as it did. The instruments provide more of a climax than Adele does, getting progressively louder and thicker as the song continues, while her voice remains relatively the same.
If you’re used to the belting sound of “Set Fire to the Rain” or “Rolling in the Deep” this song could resound as a disappointment. I got antsy as the song continued, expecting that final chorus to climax into the belting, gritty snarl that we all know she can produce.
Adele could have easily left her John Hancock on this song and announce her full throttle return to the music world, but “Skyfall” comes off as a small tease. Granted, her voice is still in repair, she could not yet be ready to hit those high notes and I would rather have her save herself for her next big project than pour it all into one song.
The new Bond theme will bring goose bumps, but only because of the 21-piece ensemble and Adele’s reputation behind her back. She assures us that she is currently working on a new album, and that it will be a bolder and more mature sound. Until that day comes, I am satisfied with “Skyfall” but I will be holding out and waiting for the next “Rolling in the Deep.”