Written by: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
Produced by: Paul Epworth
UK release: January 2011
UK chart peak: 2
The most successful thing is not always the best thing. There are many, many popstars – sorry, “musicians” – over the last decade who have taught us that. But sometimes… SOMETIMES!… the most successful thing is the best thing. And at the start of the decade, that was Adele.
Of the 2008 breakthrough crowd, the likes of Duffy and Gabriella Cilmi had suffered diminished returns with their follow-ups, and I was honestly semi-expecting Adele to go the same way. But she did NOT!
It’s easy to get lost in how ludicrously successful and Fiat-500-friendly she is, and forget that the music is consistently fucking great. Rolling In The Deep is easily among her best ever songs: it loudly and boldly announced the arrival of this phenomenal era with big vocals, confident lyrics and foot-stomping production.
21, as an album, plays with so many different aspects of emotional ruin and the shades of vulnerability therein; but on Rolling In The Deep, Adele is angry and defiant (“You’re gonna wish you never had met me”). And truly – the power that that has! The intelligence that that has! The clearance that that has! The access that that has! The influence that that has! The profile that that has! The international implications that that has!