I would like to start by stating that I am 100%, totally cool with Adele. Her voice is a tomahawk missile, her whole Adele-ness is great. You like Adele, you love Adele and I’m not going to fault you for it. I mean, I’m also not going to applaud you for it because I kind of feel like everyone likes Adele right now and I’d say odds are good she’ll be brought up at Thanksgiving. Although maybe not like this.
But that might not be that far off.
Now from what I’ve heard from her new album, it’s generally more of the same- piano, ballads, Adele. You could maybe throw it out there that she’s playing it safe, or you could counter by saying that she knows who she is, what she is and runs with it. I’m not sure. Like I said, I’m cool with her. I’m just not all that big of a fan of hers. But regardless of my fandom, I want to see Adele around for the long haul. There are so many fly-by-night musicians and bands, gone before you know it, that we need some solid titans of industry to keep the music business alive. Without Adele, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry – wow, they are all women, I feel a domino effect would be unleashed, making things harder for all the smaller fishes swimming in their wake. Don’t worry, your indie music would endure. Same with your Christian rock. But I really believe that overall, if you lose the big dogs, the rest of the pack suffers.
So I want Adele to stick around. However, I don’t necessarily want her to release another album filled with ballads and pianos and slow-paced emotional musings. I want Adele to throw some stank on it, some hot fire. I want Adele to be backed by a Hammond B-3 organ, not a grand piano. Here, let me get a little bit more specific.
I would like Adele to work with one of the following people when it comes to record a follow-up to 25: Mark Ronson, Dan Auerbach, Danger Mouse or Questlove. I think with Ronson she could really make a dynamite funk/soul album, filled with energy and life- something that is *whispers* kind of missing in her music. I’d like to hear Adele going to funk town and I bet her voice would sound really, really, super dope running wild with horn lines and funky drums. Now in the middle of this paragraph, it was pointed out to me that A) Ronson has worked with Adele in the past…
…and B) worked on 25, albeit in a limited capacity. So this is perfect: connections made! “Lay Me Down,” the track off of 25 that they worked on together is good- it’s Adele, Adele doesn’t do anything that’s less than good. But it still sounds like Adele. I want Adele to sound like Mark Ronson. “Lay Me Down” is soulful and has a gospel feel. I want Adele to get a little funky. I bet she can.
Of course working with Auerbach would be a different ballgame, but a ballgame I feel would be as interesting as any kind of collaboration with Ronson. Auerbach would have Adele come to Nashville, to his studio and back her with a collection of cool locals- you know, like members of the Arcs. It could be something rootsy, rustic, not nearly as polished. Auerbach loves him some old school, vintage-sounding equipment; he might even have Adele literally singing into a can. I think the change of pace, change of setting would challenge her. Thinking about it- I’d actually favor an Auerbach-produced album slightly more than a Ronson one. Just by a sliver, though.
As for the other two dudes- Danger Mouse would definitely provide a stripped-down option for Adele whereas Questlove would surround her with incredibly talented players and most likely create a cool, vintage R&B sound for her. Both would be good options.
Listen, I’m only making these suggestions because I think that at some point Adele needs to make a hard right turn as far as her career goes. She’ll need to change it up eventually. Or not. I don’t know. I’m sure she could keep on doing what she’s doing and still have a wonderfully successful career, filled with Grammys and gold records. But as far as appreciating her as an artist, that side of me wants to see her step outside of her wheelhouse and do something different.
I mean, what’s the worry, Adele? My mom is still going to want your album for Christmas. Same with my sister, my wife, my niece, my mother-in-law, my dad, a cousin. Probably even my dog.
The audience will be there. Why not make “there” someplace different next time?