Being a music writer, a music listener, and a music fanatic, I find it extraordinarily hard to miss the (forgive the phrase) ‘word on the street’. And unless you’re a chronic agoraphobic or have severely disabled hearing, you’ll know the word on the street too – it’s Adele. In fact, it’s been on the street for so long now, we’re starting to question it’s status as an elaborated metaphor and see it increasingly as a permanent piece of iconography – an image of crude graffiti – perhaps depicting a penis – attracting gazes from all pedestrians who happen to pass within its vicinity. But let‘s face it, bleach and a scouring pad isn’t even going to do the job. And when you can’t beat ’em, write about ’em.
Now in no way at all am I implying ‘Adele’ is someone to beat – as a recording artist, yes – but I have no intention of pursuing the career. The big question is, why is she someone to beat? Why is this generic, cockney, overweight lass from London suddenly the most successful singer of the 21st century? In effect it’s one of the simplest reasons that any of us can fathom, but in a cloud of opposing ideas and conflicting messages it seems nobody is quite equipped with the means to provide it. For me, it’s a hilarious irony – the fact that for years we’ve systematically debated and condemned the horrors of sexualisation, glamorisation and objectification of women – but the minute the perfect anomaly arises within our midst, the only three words we can muster is – what the fuck. When we see a buck to the trend we ask ourselves “Why“? We assumed that in the world of sexual identikit pop stars, that the rise of the antithesis to that very idea would just simply not be possible. Let’s break it down.