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The demos she had recorded with Epworth, Smith, and Tedder (including "Rolling in the Deep" and "Set Fire to the Rain") were subsequently rerecorded by Rubin when she met with him in his Shangri-La Studio in Malibu, California in April 2010.Rubin, notorious for his unorthodox production style, pushed the singer beyond her comfort zone, and despite being drawn to his unconventional methods, Adele described working with the producer as daunting.
Praised by critics for its understated production, vintage aesthetic, and Adele's vocal performance, 21 defied the modest commercial expectations of her indie record label XL Recordings.At the suggestion of Columbia Records group president Ashley Newton, she met with songwriter Greg Wells at his studio in Culver City, Los Angeles, where they co-wrote the gospel-tinged ballad "One and Only." In 2008, Adele's appearance on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live caught the attention of producer Rick Rubin.In the initial stage of the album's production Rubin had signed on as its sole producer, and was scheduled to produce all of its songs.Adele had written "Take It All" during a difficult moment in her relationship.When she played the song for her boyfriend, the two got into a bitter argument that culminated in the end of their 18-month relationship.Critics hailed the album as a shift from the overtly sexual and musically bombastic status quo, and attributed its success to its deeply autobiographical yet universal songs.
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.
Within a day of her break-up, she contacted producer Paul Epworth, intent on capturing her emotion in a song: "We'd had a fuming argument the night before ... Then I went into the studio and screamed." The instrumentation evolved organically—after trying out various jazz riffs, Adele attempted the first verse a cappella, inspiring Epworth to improvise a melody on his acoustic guitar.
A thumping drum beat was set to mimic her racing heartbeat.
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.
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.
The album topped the charts in more than 30 countries and became the world's best-selling album of the year for 20.