Monday, August 15, 2011

In Which I Subscribe to NPR's Concert Series and End Up Falling In Love With Adele

Last week, All Songs Considered hosts and NPR music editors Bob Boilen and Stephen Thompson commemorated the 150th installment of NPR's "Tiny Desk Concert" series. These concerts, held at Bob Boilen's desk in NPR's office bullpen, typically consist of three songs sung without microphones and with spare accompaniment, in front of NPR's employees, who sit in a semi-circle just feet away from the musicians. They are as intimate as any concert you are ever going to see broadcast. Clips of ALL 150 CONCERTS are now available on YouTube.

Some of my favorite groups, like Phoenix and Neko Case, but I most enjoy the concert series for the way in which it exposes me to artists to whom I have never - and probably otherwise would never - listen. One such singer is Adele. I've never disliked Adele; it was more that I was never really consciously exposed to her music; it never seemed like my sort of thing. I probably would never have listened to her without the Tiny Desk concert series, but . . . man. At the risk of throwing away years of hard-earned bookworm hipster douchebag credibility, Adele can really sing. Her voice is a magnificent instrument - even without a microphone, she basically blows the ears off of everybody in the audience. Few singers have pipes like hers; she is in the rarefied company of Neko Case and Alicia Keys. Like Amy Winehouse, her songs have callbacks to classic soul, but without being self-consciously retro. Basically, I think this video will charm your pants off.


Terry said...

Wow, this is legitimately great. Nice catch!

Senor Beavis said...

I don't know if that decreases your "cred." Regardless of whether or not her hit song's overplayed, it's refreshing to see someone sell a fuckton of albums because they're actually good at singing rather than being a costume artist or having big boobs and no shred of ability. Not to mention, she wasn't spawned by some media circus TV show. I sincerely wish her all the success in the world.

Common Sense Dancing said...

I love how she asks "can everybody hear me," as if its possible that anybody could have trouble hearing a voice that big. I'm sure that people on other floors could hear her. Birds perched on the roof probably took flight. What an amazing instrument she has.