Big congratulations to Adele for winning Best Single for Skyfall at the Brit Awards last night. I mean, I happen to think it's one of her weaker singles, but maybe it's just me who struggles with the concept of the sky crumbling and/or falling (or for that matter the rain being on fire). And to be blunt she could release any old tripe at this point and it would be decorated with awards.
But she obviously deserved acknowledgement at the ceremony: she's still the country's best-selling artist globally and continues to rejuvenate an industry in crisis. She's amazing. It's a boring and predictable sentence to write, but I have to because it's true. However, that doesn't stop me feeling she doesn't always put enough effort in - and as a longtime buyer or her music, I feel I have a right to say that.
I feel irked that she was a no-show at last night's ceremony. Instead, she videoed in her acceptance speech from LA, where she's rehearsing for a performance at this weekend's Oscars, following her recent appearance at the Grammys. Even Rihanna, whose work ethic I'm usually pained to praise, made it to both the Grammys and the Brits last year, hotfooting it around the world as she's prone to do - but not Adele. Clearly, at present, her priorities lie across the pond. There's no denying it.
Speaking of her acceptance speech this year, her sarcastic, gurning reference to last year's was a bit off-putting, too. As we doubtless all remember, she was cut off mid-speech while collecting the MasterCard British Album Award of the Year award because of absolutely inevitable TV timing issues, before flashing the finger, apparently at 'the suits' who'd given her the award in the first place. At the time that smacked of ingratitude to me, and was completely at odds with her carefully cultivated image of sophistication. (Interestingly, when M.I.A. flipped the bird while performing with Madonna at the Super Bowl weeks before, it ignited a global debate, with even the queen of controversy herself professing subsequent outrage).
My concerns run a little deeper than that, though. For someone so ubiquitous Adele's surprisingly unavailable. Why doesn't she make music videos anymore? Does she promote anywhere but here and the US? Why does she so rarely tweet, and why is one of 170 said tweets in defence of Chris bloody Brown? Why the lack of new music? Will her next album be called 35? And why doesn't she tour? Her battles with stage fright are widely-reported, but why then chose to perform once in a blue moon at the likes of the Oscars or the Grammys (she did the latter last year): the most watched cultural events in the world? She toured in 2008, but a lot of it was cancelled because, by her own admission, she wanted to go get drunk with her then-boyfriend rather than perform (it's believed that relationship subsequently inspired 21, which makes the laziness somewhat redeemable).
By the way, I'm well aware she quite rightly took time off over the last year to start a family. And of course what makes her so special is the fact she'd never sell her domesticity to OK! or ITV2. And I'm also factoring in the months spent at the mercy of painful throat surgery in 2011.
But right now I feel there's something lacking, and it's not the first time I've felt it. After all, Adele makes thousands of pounds every day simply by existing. But being a legend isn't a job in itself, and to act like it is alienates those of us who loved her from the beginning for her normality. The thought of her hanging out in the Hills with Brits turned Hollywood airheads like Robbie Williams worries me.
Ultimately it's indicative of 21's quality and greatness that it's sold so astronomically throughout Adele's long periods of downtime: but surely I'm not the only one getting a little impatient? I'm simply vying for more opportunities to connect with her. Another, better single by the end of the year accompanied by a proper, brilliant video of her looking amazing would suffice for me. That or a headlining slot at Glastonbury, perhaps?
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