21

- Adele

5/5

With what is probably the most impressive album so far this year, this young English singer/songwriter is living up to the hype she created with her first album, 19, in 2008.

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Opener Rolling in the Deep, built on a gospel foundation with a chunky piano rhythm, is the obvious first single.

The most prominent instrument is of course her awesome voice, which distinguishes her nicely from artists she's often compared with, like Duffy and Amy Winehouse.

As such, the instrumentation fades nicely into the background - it's there, it's pretty, but it's playing only a supporting role.

A cover of The Cure's Lovesong is a nice surprise, and a fitting choice given the album's theme of love, relationships and loss.

The final track, Someone Like You, another piano-driven song, is a standout among a number of excellent tracks, full of emotion, heartbreak and, somehow, optimism.

"Don't forget me, I beg," she wails, her voice almost cracking.

We won't.