21 by Adele (Music)

CD Info
21 by Adele
©2011 Columbia Records
ASIN: B004EBT5CU

Summary
21 is the highly anticipated sophomore album from British singer-songwriter Adele. Her first album, 19, was not an overwhelming success in the United States with only one major single released, but was a critically acclaimed Grammy award winner. Released in February 2011, 21 is already receiving high amounts of praise, and increasing radio airplay with a number of singles. Adele’s style ranges from jazzy to rock and roll, with nearly any style proving complimentary to her full bodied voice. Her vocal talent only serves to add more emotion to her already gripping lyrics that are written from the soul. Her deep connection to her lyrics is also made evident by the fact that both of her albums were named after her age at the time the songs were written.

Annotation
21 is the highly anticipated sophomore album from British singer-songwriter Adele. It is a timeless and beautifully crafted album ranging from rock and roll to piano ballads all while featuring her stunning vocals and lyrical mastery.

Critical Evaluation
Prior to the release of 21, singer/songwriter Adele was not very well known in the United States, but she has since grown in popularity with her singles “Rolling in the Deep” and “Turning Tables,” both of which were featured on the hit television show Glee. Adele serenades listeners with her rich vocals, and deeply personal yet moving lyrics that listeners can relate to. 21 showcases a wide variety of genres, but maintains a rather classic and timeless sound that would appeal to nearly anyone. As a vocalist myself, I absolutely adore Adele’s raw approach to music and can’t help but attempt to imitate her amazing voice in an attempt to further connect with her powerful lyrics, and I’m certain that others would have a similar reaction.

Information about the Artist
Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, known under the mononym Adele, is an English singer-songwriter. She was the first recipient of the BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice and was named the number-one predicted breakthrough act of 2008 in an annual BBC poll of music critics, Sound of 2008. Since her debut, 19, Adele has received much recognition both commercially and critically. The album debuted at number one, and has been certified four times platinum in the UK. Her career in the US was boosted by a viewer record–breaking Saturday Night Live episode in late 2008. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele won the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Adele released her second album 21 on 24 January 2011 in the UK, and 22 February in the US. The album was a critical and commercial success, selling 208,000 copies in its first week in the UK and debuting at number one on the UK Albums Chart, a position it managed to hold for sixteen weeks. In the United Kingdom, 21 has been certified ten times Platinum for shipment of 3.0 million units. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, selling 352,000 copies in its first week. The album has charted at number one in 17 European countries and the United States

Genre
R&B
Soul
Blues

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
In the effort of including musical variety, I chose Adele as an amazing singer/songwriter who’s passionate about her music and would inspire and move her listeners.

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The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) by Lady Gaga (Music)

CD Info
The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) by Lady Gaga
©2009 Interscope Records
ASIN: B002QGUFWE

Summary
The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) combines Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame with her 8-song EP The Fame Monster that was released between full length album releases. The Fame skyrocketed Lady Gaga into fame, as if she could predict the future. Her addictive pop sound and catchy lyrics, combined with her artistic, if not eccentric, fashion sense made her an instant success. Pop hits such as “Just Dance” and “Paparazzi” still get hours of radio airplay, and echo across dance floors all over the world. To keep up her momentum between albums, she released The Fame Monster, which did not disappoint by bearing more major hits like “Bad Romance” and “Telephone.”

Annotation
The Fame Monster (Deluxe Edition) fabulously combines Lady Gaga’s debut album The Fame with her 8-song EP The Fame Monster that was released shortly after. Gaga fans can listen to most all of their favorite hits in one place!

Critical Evaluation
Gaga’s infectious brand of pop music speaks to the masses, but as a performer and artist she goes so much deeper than the kitschy bubble gum pop she’s known for. She is essentially a living, breathing and walking piece of art and her entire life is a performance. She wears outrageous outfits, and releases scandalous videos that to the average person might seem to have absolutely nothing to do with the song it’s made to visually support. But what I really love about Gaga is her message and fight for love, equality and acceptance for all. Every single one of us is unique, special and amazing in our own way, and that is a message that everyone can do with hearing.

Information about the Artist
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American pop singer-songwriter. After enrolling at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2003 and later performing in the rock music scene of New York City’s Lower East Side, she signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early time at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists and captured the attention of recording artist Akon who, recognizing her vocal abilities, signed her to his own label, Kon Live Distribution.

Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame (2008), which was a critical and commercial success and achieved international popularity with the singles “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”. The album reached number one on the record charts of six countries, topped the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart while simultaneously peaking at number two on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and accomplished positions within the top ten worldwide. Achieving similar worldwide success, The Fame Monster (2009), its follow-up, produced a further three global chart-topping singles “Bad Romance”, “Telephone” and “Alejandro” and allowed her to embark on her second global concert tour, The Monster Ball Tour, just months after having finished her first, The Fame Ball Tour. Her second studio album Born This Way (2011) topped the charts in all major musical markets after the arrival of its singles “Born This Way”, “Judas” and “The Edge of Glory” – the first-mentioned achieved the number-one spot in countries worldwide and was the fastest-selling single in the history of iTunes, selling one million copies in five days

Genre
Pop
Dance music

Reading Level/ Interest Age
12+

Challenge Issues

  • Language
  • Sexual Innuendo

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online reviews, and others who are familiar with the material.

Why Included?
Gaga is today’s spokeswoman for love, acceptance and being yourself, and her music is catchy and fun. She may be risqué at times, but she sends a good message and as a victim of childhood bullying, looks out for the underdog.

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix (Music)

CD Info
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
©2009 Glass Note Records
ASIN: B0021X515S

Summary
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the fourth studio album, but first mainstream release of French rockers, Phoenix. This album offers refreshing indie pop rock illustrated by the singles “1901” and “Lisztomania.” The album can be described as indie music, with alternative rock and synth pop also as accurate descriptors. Relatively unknown outside of France, this album escalated them to mainstream greatness, with many songs repeatedly used in movies and commercials.

Annotation
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the fourth studio album from the French rock band Phoenix, but the first to reach great heights in international fame. With the release of the single “1901,” the album became a huge success in America and for very good reason.

Critical Evaluation
With the radio release of “1901,” Phoenix to the U.S. by storm, and they are more than just a one hit wonder. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is literally packed to the brim with hit-worthy songs, and their perfect blend of rock and pop will make them appeal to almost anyone. The album as a whole has an upbeat and happy feel that just makes you feel good and want to sing along. The lyrics at times can seem a little nonsensical, and I’m not sure if this is intentional or because they are French, but it didn’t detract at all from the album’s overall likeability.

Information about the Artist
Phoenix is a Grammy Award winning French indie rock band from Versailles, founded by Thomas Mars, Deck d’Arcy, Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz.

Vocalist Thomas Mars, bassist Deck d’Arcy, and guitarist Chris Mazzalai started as a garage band based out of Mars’ house in the suburbs of Paris. In 1995, Laurent Brancowitz, Mazzalai’s older brother, permanently joined the band on guitar after the end of the short-lived band Darlin’ he formed with Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo (who together became Daft Punk). Two years later the band took on the name Phoenix and pressed 500 copies of a single on their own label, Ghettoblaster. Shortly after, they were signed to the Paris-based Source Records. Phoenix became well acquainted with labelmates Air when they acted as their backing band on several U.K. TV appearances. They were the backing band for a remix of Air’s “Kelly Watch the Stars” single. They currently hold a very close friendship with the members of Daft Punk.

Genre
Indie Rock

Reading Level/ Interest Age
14+

Challenge Issues
N/A

Why Included?
In the interest of musical variety, I wanted to choose a rock band to include. Phoenix has been around for a while, but only recently reached commercial success. They are a great example of great musicality and fun rock music.