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Although unaware of Adele's personal predicament, he composed the opening piano sequence and first few lines to what became the lovelorn ballad "Turning Tables": "Close enough to start a war/All that I have is on the floor." Coincidentally, it perfectly captured the experience of the singer, who arrived at the studio moments after another altercation with her former lover.
Angry and unfocused, she denounced her ex-lover's tendency to "turn the tables" on her during their arguments, an expression that Tedder decided to reference in the song's lyrics.
I looked at the engineer then at her and said, 'Adele I don't know what to tell you but I have never had anyone do that in ten years'." After working with Smith, Tedder, and Epworth, Adele travelled to the United States for the remainder of the album's production.
21 shares the folk and Motown soul influences of her 2008 debut album 19, but was further inspired by the American country and Southern blues music to which she had been exposed during her 2008–09 North American tour An Evening with Adele.
Composed in the aftermath of the singer's separation from her partner, the album typifies the near dormant tradition of the confessional singer-songwriter in its exploration of heartbreak, self-examination, and forgiveness.
Adele recorded the demo with Jim Abbiss the following day.
Adele and Tedder arranged a second meeting and reconvened at Serenity West Studios in Los Angeles weeks later to write and record "Rumour Has It." In an interview, Tedder recalled his astonishment at the singer's musicality and vocal prowess after she completed the main vocals to the song in 10 minutes: "She sang it once top to bottom, pitch perfect, she didn't miss a note.
However, studio sessions were generally unproductive and, after two weeks, yielded only one song recorded to the singer's satisfaction—the Jim Abbiss-produced "Take It All," a lovelorn piano ballad not unlike the songs on 19.
Adele had written "Take It All" during a difficult moment in her relationship.A thumping drum beat was set to mimic her racing heartbeat.British producer Fraser T Smith recalled following a similar trajectory when he teamed up with Adele to compose the subsequent third single "Set Fire to the Rain" at his My Audiotonic Studios in London.Five singles were released to promote the album, with "Rolling in the Deep," "Someone like You" and "Set Fire to the Rain" becoming international number-one songs, while "Rumour Has It" charted in the top 20 across Europe and North America.Globally, 21 was the biggest selling musical release for both 20, and helped revitalise lagging sales of the UK and US music industry.In the United States, the album held the top position for 24 weeks, longer than any other album since 1985 and the longest by a female solo artist in Billboard 200 history.