Verdict: More soul to her cry
Young British singer-songwriter Adele's sophomore album was pipped to cement her as a powerhouse pop culture icon, just like Amy Winehouse's second album Back to Black. And opening with country foot-stomper Rolling in the Deep and sassy Rumour Has It, it seems she might just have the attitude to nail it. But she turns a mournful corner on the third track Turning Tables and from then on it's clear none of the songs are going to get under listeners'
skin like her 2008 breakout hit Chasing Pavements did. That song, and her debut album 19 may have hinted at some melancholy, but this second album is heaving with it.
It's always difficult transitioning to adulthood but if Adele's lyrics are anything to go by, she has had a seriously bumpy ride. Many of the dolorous tracks would suit the score for a Dear John break-up scene in a teen movie, if not the late-night segment of classic hits radio.
Quaking through lyrics like "Sometimes a lesson's learned but sometimes it hurts instead", there's no doubt Adele's new songs will reach people looking for something to wallow in, nor that she has an amazing set of lungs.
Sure, she needed to get something off her chest and she wanted to stay true to herself. The result is powerful, but it's also rather exhaustive.
She might have better rewarded her burgeoning fanbase if she had let just a little more funk into her soul.