Adele's "Skyfall" James Bond Theme: Why Does She Sound So Sleepy?
Like everyone else on Earth, we are huge Adele fans. When 19 came out, we had our minds blown by the sheer passion and power on display from this absurdly young woman, and couldn't help but wonder if the album was a one-off or a fluke (remember -- not even Amy Winehouse managed it twice). But then, of course, 21 came out, the world wept along with "Someone Like You," stomped its feet along with "Rolling In The Deep," and promptly bought so many copies of the album that Adele was credited with single-handedly saving the music industry. Indeed, Adele is a rare talent -- when she sings, it appears totally effortless yet makes you feels like the world is coming to an end.
So what the hell happened when she recorded the snooze-fest of a theme tune to the new James Bond movie? This thing has about as much passion as a couple of 90-year-olds who've been married for 70 years.
Okay: It's not the worst thing we've ever heard. Fine. We just expected so much more from this. The trick with most Adele songs is that even when she seems to be approaching things from a laid-back angle, there are so many subtle little inflections and runs in her vocals, she messes with your head and creeps into your heart before you've even noticed -- which is why "Chasing Pavements" made her famous in the first place. The problem with "Skyfall" is that -- until the last 30 seconds -- it's merely laid back. To the point of being practically horizontal.
We know Bond themes have to fit a certain template: the sultriness, the orchestral elements, the incorporation of John Barry's traditional Bond theme. We know it's limiting. But listen to the chorus of "Skyfall" again -- it sounds very much like Adele had a rough night and is nodding off in the booth. She certainly doesn't sound like she wants to "stand tall."
The lyrics here are positively apocalyptic, so why does she sound so damn bored? Perhaps she's an artist who simply can't convey deep soul and hardcore emotion unless she's singing extremely personal material. And really, that makes complete sense -- when Adele sings her pain, we all feel it like a raw nerve. Maybe the problem here is that she knows the sky isn't really falling, so can't be arsed to pretend like it is.