Best of the B Sides: “Right as Rain”

Now, Adele wasn’t always the soundtrack to despair, believe it or not. Though sophomore album 21 is rife with pain and soulful ballads, Adele’s debut 19 is vastly underrated as an album on the whole. The production is miles below what it is on 21, but that’s a good thing. 19 is primarily acoustic, an album that could be played live in concert halls and living rooms with the same instruments and still sound the same. 19 has a lot more funk to it than 21 and a whole lot more spirit. Of course, the singles “Chasing Pavements” and “Hometown Glory” put Adele on the map. Though 19 dropped in 2008, it took a little while for Adele to make an impact in the States, but once she took off here she really took off.

One of the best tracks of 19 is the jazzy “Right as Rain.” It’s another fairly minimal song, using nothing more than a keyboard, drums, and backing vocals, but the sound is luscious and full. Of course, much of that is due to Adele’s astonishing voice. She was nineteen years old when she recorded the album and her voice was just as strong as the most seasoned jazz singer. The rhythm breakdown of the whole song is what sets it apart from everything else on the album. In the verses, her vocals are playing off of a rhythm in between the drums. The chorus brings it all together, but even the chorus has a halting rhythm that keeps it unique.

Adele shows off her singing chops in both the bridge and the final chorus, trilling out a few gritty high notes that bring a fresh delight to the listener. As far as the lyrics go, it’s hard to tell whether “Right as Rain” is a song of victory or defeat. It may be a bit of both. The final verse goes: Cause who wants to be right as rain, it’s better when something is wrong/ I get excitement in my bones, even though everything’s a strain/ When night comes and I’m on my own, you should know I chose to be alone/ Who wants to be right as rain, it’s harder when you’re on top. The whole song laments the lives of those at the top, but it’s kept a little cheeky. That may be mostly due to the tone of the song, but either way, there’s at least a sense of underdog victory to “Right as Rain” that makes it one of the most fun tracks on 19.

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