Adele – 21

Adele’s sophomore album, 21, has made a comfy home at the top of the Billboard charts since its release in early 2011. Debuting at number one in an astonishing 17 countries,  21 has surpassed Madonna and the Beatles in the UK Charts. The soulful singer-songwriter is sure to take home another Grammy…  or three (or four) for this collection of ear and soul candy.

Named after her age at the time of its release, the album could be alternately titled “Adele’s Guide to Break-Up Recovery;” as each track is a step through the heartbreak grieving process.  The album is written about the Grammy winner’s own broken relationship, so severe it led to alcoholism. Adele sings exactly what she lived through. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you’re listening to a song by someone who manages to describe exactly how you felt at a particular moment in your life. Adele is able to do that time after time. If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you’ll relive the beauty and pain through this album.

Step One in the break-up process is anger, revealed in the sassy “Rolling in the Deep.” With haunting back-up singers warning “You’re gonna wish you never had met me,” “Rolling in the Deep” delivers a “You’ll be sorry” message. With lines like “Think of me in the depths of your despair, make a home down there ‘cuz mine sure won’t be shared,” Adele works through the initial hurt of being dumped and betrayed.

The next step, Begging, is showcased in “Don’t You Remember,” an achingly beautiful ballad where Adele asks “Don’t you remember the reason you loved me before?”  Also in the process is False Optimism, a shining moment where one believes the relationship can be saved – “I’ll be somebody different, I’ll be better for you,” she begs unashamedly in “I’ll Be Waiting.”

Acceptance, the most difficult step, arrives in “Someone Like You” where the singer realizes there is no chance of getting back together. Waving her white flag, Adele surrenders, “Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead.” This song will make you cry but don’t hold it in. With each listen, a layer of hurt is pulled from your heart.

Adele’s healing comes in the bonus track, “I Found a Boy,” a slow, doo-wop style ballad in which she croons, “I found a boy who loves me more than you ever did before.” Moving on, and moving up the charts, Adele takes us on a heartbreak journey and leaves us whole at the end.