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The lessons of Adele: Damon Albarn, Rick Rubin, vocal surgery, Playboy and feminism

By | Published on Wednesday 4 November 2015

Adele

Adele remains, as she has now been for more than two weeks, back. And as if to prove this fact further, Rolling Stone has published an interview with her. An interview in which she talks about her new album and other stuff, like life and that.

One of the things you might have been wondering about (I’m sure it wasn’t just me) is the operation she had on her vocal chords that forced her to cancel tour dates in 2011. As I’m sure you’ll remember, being unable to promote her ’21’ album had a devastating effect on sales. “It does make your voice, like, brand new”, she says of the surgery. “Which I actually didn’t like at first, because I used to have a bit of husk to my voice, and that wasn’t there at first”.

So that’s one thing she said. Should I have made this one of those ‘five things we learned’ lists? No. And fuck you if you’ve ever written one of those. Or read one. People aren’t supposed to have articles laid out in front of them in easy to read sections. It’s unhealthy. Reading should be hard, time consuming and mildly confusing.

Here’s another thing we learned (or at least had re-confirmed) from Adele’s Rolling Stone interview: Damon Albarn is a bit of cunt. As I’m sure you’ll remember, he was one of a number of people Adele worked with on songs for the album. He recently told The Sun that he didn’t think she’d use any of his songs because the rest of her stuff was “middle of the road” and she is “very insecure”.

“It ended up being one of those ‘don’t meet your idol’ moments”, she says of working with Albarn. “And the saddest thing was that I was such a big Blur fan growing up. But it was sad, and I regret hanging out with him. None of [the music they wrote together] was right. None of it suited my record. He said I was insecure, when I’m the least-insecure person I know. I was asking his opinion about my fears, about coming back with a child involved – because he has a child – and then he calls me insecure?”

Actually, she admits that an earlier draft of the album had been a bit sub-par, but Rick Rubin told her this to her face, rather than via an interview with The Sun, so she took it better.

“Adele was anxious to be finished with the new album and move forward with life”, says Rubin “I stressed the most important thing was to be true to her voice, even if that took longer and was more work… In the new material I heard, it was clear she wasn’t the primary writer – many of the songs sounded like they might be on a different pop artist’s album. It’s not just her voice singing any song that makes it special”.

“You know the pop songs that are fantastic, but they don’t have much depth?” agrees Adele. “They were all a bit like that”.

But those weren’t the songs that Damon Albarn heard. What a bastard. Still, they’re all in the archive now, so she might still release them all one day, right? No. “Some songs are not fucking good enough”, she says. “And I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong, thinking that people will buy any old shit from you”.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering now if she’d ever pose naked for Playboy. “I’ve been asked ‘Would you do Playboy?’ so many fucking times, it’s ridiculous. And is that because I’m a woman or because I’m fat?”

And is she a feminist? “I don’t think many men in interviews get asked if they’re feminist”.

Brian Hiatt didn’t actually ask her those last two questions while interviewing Adele for Rolling Stone, I just made it look like he had. Bloody media, always twisting people’s words. Read the full interview here. It’s good.



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