Music

Adele’s ‘21’ sets record with 21st week at No. 1

Todd Martens
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGLES — Adele’s momentum is showing no signs of slowing. After winning six Grammy Awards and taking the top prize at the Brit Awards, the young soulful star bested a chart record set by another vocal powerhouse, the late Whitney Houston. Adele’s “21” coasted to another week at the top of the pop charts, giving it 21 nonconsecutive weeks in the pole position. That’s the most by any album in the modern sales era.

Buoyed by her Grammy wins and return to the stage after vocal cord surgery, “21” sold a mighty 730,000 copies in the United States for the week beginning Feb. 13, according to Nielsen SoundScan stats released by Billboard. The tally gives Adele her best sales week. The album, which has now remained in the top-10 for one full year, has sold more than 7.3 million copies.

With another week at No. 1, Adele has bested a chart record set by the Houston-led soundtrack to “The Bodyguard,” the Grammy album-of-the-year winner for 1992. SoundScan began providing accurate sales data for the music industry in 1991, and “The Bodyguard” had its run at the top of the charts beginning in late 1992.

Artists who perform at the Grammy Awards typically experience a sales bump in the days that follow, yet Adele’s 207-percent sales increase is rare any time of the year (the album sold 237,000 copies for the week ending Feb. 12). Adele’s “21” is the best sales week for an album since Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter IV” debuted at No. 1 with 964,000 late last fall.

By comparison, last year’s album-of-the-year winners the Arcade Fire sold 41,000 copies of its “The Suburbs” in the first full sales week after the Grammy Awards. For the week heading into the awards, “The Suburbs” had sold 12,000 copies.

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

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Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

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From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

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Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

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Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

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