Sit back, relax, rock out: 2 new albums feature ideal tracks to chill with

Odi Opole, Web Editor

Adele — 21

Striking piano solos.

Big sounds and soft tones.

That amazing voice.

The album, 21, showcases more of Adele’s talent and voice, and fittingly seems to be more mature than 19. This album is all about the ups and downs of relationships, and the songs cover everything from emotional breakups to dramatic exits.

Adele showcases range, musicality and versatility.

The album starts out strong with “Rolling in the Deep” and “Rumour Has It” — two songs about missed chances and moving on.

Adele incorporates rhythm and harmony beautifully into these two songs, and the drums and piano both play major roles. The songs are strong starters to an album that seems to be all about the rollercoasters that are relationships.

The album takes an emotional dip and a technical rise on the next track, “Turning Tables.” In the song, Adele gives the belting a break and croons with emotion, letting a piano and string accompaniment carry her through the tune. The song is well-written and well-sung, and it shows Adele doesn’t rely solely on the power of her voice.

The great thing about “Turning Tables” and the rest of the ballads and slow tunes on 21 is that Adele keeps her voice in check relative to the instruments. Her voice comes through strong on every note, but her volume is well-moderated.

A great sophomore effort, 21 reminds listeners of Adele’s talent while giving them some new and beautiful songs to listen to. However, 21’s shortcomings lie in the subject matter: Once again, a young artist bases an entire album on relationships. Love songs are OK in moderation — but when someone has an entire album about them, sometimes it leaves listeners wishing for something more. On her next album, Adele should make sure to show some diversity in lyricism, because once she finds her footing on that issue, her albums will be triple-threats of musicality, lyricism and vocal talent.

Radiohead — King of Limbs

On Feb. 19, Radiohead surprised the music world and fans everywhere when it released King of Limbs, its new album, early.

Five days after announcing it, in fact.

The album’s early release affected how many critics reviewed the album. In a rush to be first, many reviews were posted hours after the release, most likely leading to general confusion over the album.

When I first heard King of Limbs I said, “What is this?” Breathy tones and whispery vocals assailed my ears, leaving me dazed and confused.

I listened through the album, and decided it was…interesting. Not really my scene, but interesting. The soaring, sweeping tunes and strange lyrics were like nothing I’d heard before.

Then I listened again. And again. And again. Soon, I was listening nonstop. The tones and musicality of King of Limbs can seem off-putting to a first-time listener, but it’s definitely a great album.

King of Limbs has a distinctly ethereal feeling to it — ­ a mixture of the otherworldly and the supernatural seem to seep through the tracks and into your brain. Radiohead uses traditional instruments as well as studio magic to create melodies that weave and wind, daring listeners to try to decipher them.

The lyrics are similar — incredible, once listeners figure them out. Although sometimes inaudible or hard to understand, if they choose to look up the lyrics to songs like “Bloom,” “Codex” or “Morning Mr. Magpie,” listeners will find those figurative language skills from CA class coming in handy.

Overall, Radiohead did extremely well — not only because they put out a good sound, but because their songs and lyricism will spark a good discussion. King of Limbs is also versatile: It can create a mood that is eerie, relaxing or thought-provoking. The new Radiohead CD is one to buy — if you’re up to the challenge.