It has been a breakout year for British Soul singer Adele, who has been widely praised for her no-gimmicks and non-sexualized music and image. Her number one single "Rolling in the Deep" has especially captured the attention of popular culture, being featured, sampled and remixed several times throughout 2011.
The lead single on her sophomore album, 21, "Rolling in the Deep" was released on November 29, 2010. Since then, it has been heard on a number of different television shows, sung by various other artists and remixed into a host of different genres. It has been considered by Billboard as the biggest crossover hit of the past 25 years.
The break up power ballad is instantly recognizable by its introductory guitar chords, and is described by Adele as a "dark blues-y gospel disco tune." Accompanying her powerful melody are the guitar, drums and a gospel choir singing the hook.
"Rolling In the Deep" was first used as the theme song for the sci-fi movie "I Am Number Four." It has been featured on a number of shows on the channel CW, including "90210," "One Tree Hill" and "Gossip Girl." It has also been featured twice on the ABC Family show, "Secret Life of the American Teenager."
It was used as the theme song for E4 reality series "Made in Chelsea" as well as heard in several commercials, including the trailer for upcoming 2011 Australian crime drama "Underbelly," among many others.
"Rolling In the Deep" was a favorite artistic accompaniment as well. Dancer Mitchell Kelly performed to the song during season eight of FOX's "You Think You Can Dance." It was also performed by singing hopefuls Angela Wolff and Vicci Martinez on NBC's The Voice.
It also found an influence in sports, being played as the CBC's intro to Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals as well in promos for the 2011 NBA Draft.
The song has been covered by a host of different artists, including David Cook and Nicole Scherzinger. It was performed acapella by John Legend and acoustically by Linkin Park, with front man Chester Bennington as the vocalist. Patti Smith covered the song at her performance at the Castle Clinton as did Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff during the second season of Glee.
"Rolling In the Deep" has spawned so many remixes, that it's hard to pinpoint how many there are. From Latin, to dubstep and electronic, countless artists and DJ's have put their own spin on the tune.
One notably is actor Donald Glover who raps under the name Childish Gambino and added a verse to the song, embellishing on the theme of heartbreak.
Richard Russell, founder of Adele's record label, XL Recordings has stated that Adele's music is appealing because it comes with no gimmicks and because she does not over sexualize her music or persona in order to gain popularity.
“The whole message with [Adele] is that it’s just music, it’s just really good music,” he told U.K. newspaper, the Guardian.