Even if Adele Adkins's record-breaking 11 weeks at the top of the album chart ends on Sunday – and it looks like the Foo Fighters will finally halt the longest reign ever by a female artist – it's an amazing achievement. Clutching a Brits Critics' Choice award before she'd even released her debut album, Adele had what seems like pre-ordained success, but it never would have happened without her extraordinary voice. Appropriately, her big, smoky pipes enter tonight before she does – singing from the wings, before she suddenly emerges, cackling "Awright Leeds."
These first few seconds encapsulate her special connection with the public. A peculiar mixture of the sublime and the mundane, she combines the voice of Alison Moyet with the Queen Vic shtick of Barbara Windsor. One minute she's adding an eerie tremor to the lyric "Of my world", the next she's explaining to the people pondering aloud just how one might Set Fire to the Rain, that the song was inspired "when mah lightah stopped workin'" in the wet.
When she asks for the lights to be turned up, she reveals just who are the people who have been buying those records – not edgy retro-soul connoisseurs, but greying bonces and high-street blondes. At times, her music makes appropriate compromises. "Cuddle the one you're wiv", she instructs; Turning Tables's beige-eyed soul seems designed for couples taking photos of themselves as they bellow along with every "Ooh-ooh".
Like them, Adele seems blissfully unaware of cool, and it seems quite revealing that her intriguing choice of the Cure's Lovesong could easily have been replaced with INXS's prosaic Never Tear Us Apart, "one of mah favourites". You wonder whether she even realises that some of her songs (the haunting One and Only) are better and deeper than others (shoppers' soundtrack Chasing Pavements), and why.
But when she gets it right, she flies. With her hushed delivery of Make You Feel My Love, she makes a Bob Dylan song her own. Rolling in the Deep is a big, hands-clapping party shouter. And when the 22-year-old adds emotion beyond her years to Someone Like You – a moving confession of romantic failings – she touches the crowd so much that they sing back at her, like a huge and slightly eerie choir. "I think that might be the best moment of my life," she cries, momentarily overcome. But you suspect that, once her songs equal her voice, there will be many more such moments to follow.
Glee is amazing. Can I just say that? With the likes of New Directions and the Warblers....Glee truly makes my heart sing. Literally. Everytime I watch Glee, I'm singing the songs days afterwards. And Glee truly brings glee to people all around them. If you know me, I'm not really a 'people person', and I talk about glee so excitedly with people I would normally hate because I'm just so damn excited for the new episode. I love Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel. I promise, glee fans, that I will do an entire post dedicated to Kurt's (Chris Colfer!!! I LOVE YOU!!! *stalks him on twitter obsessively*) outfits and will do a writeup of who and what he is wearing and my personal opinion on every episode. Glee....I love you. Thank you for making tuesday my favorite day of the week. Without Glee I would have no life....yes, that means I ahve no life 6 other days of the week. :)
About halfway through her show, Lady Gaga rose from the bowels of the stage seated behind a scorched-looking piano, a chauffer’s cap sexily tilted on her head.
She leaned forward into a real microphone – not the headset clamped on her most of the night – and unleashed a stripped, potent version of “Born This Way.”
In its rawest form, steered by Gaga’s monster of a voice, the song bore zero resemblance to the dance classic it is universally compared to – Madonna’s “Express Yourself” – and instead, shuddered through the Gwinnett Arena with searing poignancy.
By following it up with the torchy new “You and I,” a sweeping power ballad straight out of the early Elton John songbook, Gaga proved in four minutes what her entire show strived to accomplish in nearly two hours: She’s nobody’s wannabe.
While there is no denying that the girl formerly known as Stefani Germanotta has spent thousands of hours studying not only Madonna, but David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and possibly even a little Marilyn Manson for extra shock effect, her approach is wholly different.
While her heroes concentrated on pure performance, portraying themselves as untouchable icons in their own Broadway musical, Gaga frequently breaks the fourth wall, addressing her fans with varying levels of appreciation and intimacy.
“I didn’t used to be very brave, but you have made me so brave, little monsters,” she told her loving flock, who instantly forgave her 9:45 p.m. start time upon hearing the first electro-buzzy notes of “Dance in the Dark.”
With her messages of empowerment – “Reject anyone or anything who made you feel you didn’t belong,” “Please leave tonight loving yourself a little bit more than when you walked in,” – and tales of her own supposed high school bullying, Gaga started to sound like an after school special. Sure, the message is important, but it also gets diluted after its sixth rendering.
That type of connection, though, is what motivated hundreds in the sold out crowd of more than 13,000 at Monday’s concert to dress in fishnet stockings, blond wigs, feather boas and the occasional dog chain.
She is their champion, the former misfit now sporting straw-colored hair who boldly snarled “I will NEVER lip-synch. Not. One. Word,” during “Teeth,” which eventually devolved into a lot of Gaga rolling around in dry ice screaming about how Jesus loves everyone.
But even though the melodrama of her performance can be a bit draining, she’s definitely inherited Madonna’s work ethic and fierce creativity.
Whether tossing out “Just Dance” with a cool nonchalance, skipping around in one of her trademark leotards and knee-high black boots with her cadre of dancers, or cruising down the catwalk in a transparent getup with a plastic Flying Nun-type habit for the delightful disco of “Love Game,” Gaga was a tireless showgirl.
It’s apparent she isn’t a natural dancer, yet you could clearly see the effort she put into mastering her moves with a chorus line of shirtless men in spandex underwear during “Boys, Boys, Boys.” Even when she nearly wiped out on a discarded jacket during “Poker Face,” Gaga barely missed a step.
She might have a see-through heart, but she is, first and foremost, a professional.
Though there were plenty of eye-popping production elements in her show, such as a scary-cool forest set and weird piranha-octopus blowup creature that towered behind her as the “monster” in “Paparazzi” – both visual upgrades from her earlier theater run, which brought her to the Fox in late 2009 – Gaga really doesn’t need to rely so much on spectacle.
She loves her performance art, sure. But as she demonstrated with her two piano tunes, there’s no reason to mask that kind of vocal talent.
I LOVE YOU LADY GAGA!!