Since I finished my dissertation, I’ve been MEH. Sure, I’ve had thoughts, I’ve even started some posts, only to run out of steam after the first sentence. Maybe I was a bit burnt out….?
Then today, I heard Aretha Franklin ripping up Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and I couldn’t help but write a little something. Now, my critques: it’s a bit overproduced, in the way that producers seem to do when they have a legendary talent in the studio. It’s as if they panic about keeping a person relevant and current and forget that this person can actually sing. So… the production values are a little too slick. And others have raised the spectre of autotune. Perhaps a touch? But you can’t deny the best part of it….
Her voice. Aretha takes Rolling in the Deep, which I love anyway, and gives it edge and soul. I do love Adele’s pared-back (by comparison) version which is moving and defiant, but when Aretha sings:
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your shit bare/See how I’ll leave with every part of you/Don’t underestimate the things that I will do….
…you believe it. She brings out a deliciously threatening quality to the song (in the same way that Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ song Retreat gives me exquisite chills) until Aretha stalks through it and lets her voice into every nook and cranny of it.
I’m also not sure about the foray into Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, but her treatment of the song just has me in ecstasies. I’ll forgive that.