This week Adele appeared in an interview with Matt Lauer that was interspersed with clips from her recent performance at the Royal Albert Hall. First, let me say that I know I’m far too old to be singing lustily along with Adele to “Rumor Has It” or tearing up during “Set Fire to the Rain.” But hang it all, I don’t care.
And neither, apparently, did the women in the audience at the Albert Hall, many of whom were my age or near it. What is it about this kid? Her impressive pipes? Her ability to sing white girl blues in a way we haven’t heard since Janis Joplin? Her sensitive, wise, and surprisingly mature lyrics? Yes, yes, and yes.
As I watched her female fans react in the concert clips, I was reminded of my own fan girl days, and the singer-songwriter whose work spoke to me as a young woman: Joni Mitchell. At first glance, the UK born Adele and the California-Girl-By-Way-of-Canada Joni would seem to have little in common besides their prodigious talent.
But at a young age, both women established themselves as the real deal–for all Adele’s commercial appeal, she shows a musical and lyrical artistry that’s rare in one so young. As did Joni back in the day. While both women return constantly to their favorite theme–love and its loss–their songs are never whiny. Their heartbreak is real, and often informed by their real life experiences. With Mitchell, you always knew she’d bounce back and find a new man (often several new men) and wouldn’t be tied down, because her true love was her art.
Adele is still young, and all of it’s in front of her. I hope she loves again and finds a way to balance that love with her music. And while I wish the her best, I hope she never loses the blues. Because she makes some damn good music.
♥ ♥ ♥