Chasing Pavements (album)
Label: XL Recordings
British songbird Adele is only 19 (hence the title of her debut album), yet she sings with the authority of a seasoned veteran. Perhaps it's that youth that makes her songs so honest. Spurred by a breakup, 19's main theme is love and its many tangled branches. Simple, stripped down and informed by greats like Etta James and Billie Holiday, Adele's powerful vocals take your body and soul: "Melt My Heart to Stone" brings on goosebumps, "Daydreamer" inspires tears, and "Best for Last" evokes a hip swivel and a head bop. But it's her highest notes that'll give you the chills.