Adele’s first album, 19, is of the soul genre, with lyrics describing heartbreak and relationship. Her success occurred simultaneously with several other British female soul singers, with the British press dubbing her a new Amy Winehouse.This was described as a third British Musical Invasion of the US.However, Adele called the comparisons between her and other female soul singers lazy, noting “we’re a gender, not a genre”. AllMusic wrote that “Adele is simply too magical to compare her to anyone.” Her second album, 21, shares the folk and soul influences of her debut album, but was further inspired by the American country and Southern blues music to which she had been exposed during her 2008–09 North American tour An Evening with Adele.Composed in the aftermath of the singer’s separation from her partner, the album typifies the near dormant tradition of the confessional singer-songwriter in its exploration of heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness. Having referred to 21 as a “break-up record”, Adele labelled her third studio album, 25, a “make-up record”, adding it was about “Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did.” Her yearning for her old self, her nostalgia, and melancholy about the passage of time, is a feature of 25, with Adele stating, “I’ve had a lot of regrets since I turned 25. And sadness hits me in different ways than it used to. There’s a lot of things I don’t think I’ll ever get ’round to doing.”
Adele possesses a contralto vocal range.Rolling Stone reported that following throat surgery her voice had become “palpably bigger and purer-toned”, and that she had added a further four notes to the top of her range.Initially, critics suggested that her vocals were more developed and intriguing than her songwriting, a sentiment with which Adele agreed.She has stated: “I taught myself how to sing by listening to Ella Fitzgerald for acrobatics and scales, Etta James for passion and Roberta Flack for control.”Her voice has received acclaim from critics. In a review of 19, The Observer said, “The way she stretched the vowels, her wonderful soulful phrasing, the sheer unadulterated pleasure of her voice, stood out all the more; little doubt that she’s a rare singer”.BBC Music wrote, “Her melodies exude warmth, her singing is occasionally stunning and, …she has tracks that make Lily Allen and Kate Nash sound every bit as ordinary as they are.” For their reviews of 21, The New York Times’ chief music critic Jon Pareles commended the singer’s emotive timbre, comparing her to Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Annie Lennox: “[Adele] can seethe, sob, rasp, swoop, lilt and belt, in ways that draw more attention to the song than to the singer” Ryan Reed of Paste magazine regarded her voice as “a raspy, aged-beyond-its-years thing of full-blooded beauty”,while MSN Music’s Tom Townshend declared her “the finest singer of [our] generation”.