Adele 19

Is it sheer coincidence that the latest in London’s steady growing production line of singing/songwriting girl stars mimics Amy Winehouse’s soulful voice and Kate Nash’s mannered Mockney poetics on her debut album? Not likely. Whether current UK media darling Adele Adkins possesses half as much talent as either of these success stories is a moot point. But she is being marketed as such so we, the faithful MySpace audience, are obliged to listen, download and buy, buy, buy. The truth is, stretched out over an entire album, Adkins’ affected warbling becomes rather cloying and, singles aside, 19 turns out to be on the flabby and meandering side. Though the gob-y teen chatters enthusiastically about a love of the great female songwriter poets (Jill Scott and Karen Dalton), her own lyrical focus — unrequited teenage love — is too narrow to achieve such great heights. That’s not to say there’s no potential here. There is plenty. Something a little space and a lot less limelight could’ve nurtured. (XL)