Adele’s musical gift is her voice, a once-in-a-generation talent that wraps itself around notes with astonishing power and variety; her phrasing is always masterful, often surprising. As a songwriter, she favors a strong melody and elemental sentiments – her compositions are fresh but seem timeless.

One of my favorite pop lyrics is Cat Stevens’ Father and Son (1970). “You’re still young, that’s your fault.” It’s the kind of line you struggle against: “How can it be my fault?” The older I get, the more I understand. I realize that youth was, and still is, my fault.