Adele is beating Lady Gaga on Billboard, but why? - Reverb

Pop & Circumstance: How does Adele beat Gaga on Billboard?

Who woulda thunk it?

Adele is kicking Lady Gaga’s ass on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. The two singers, 22 and 25, respectively, are battling it out for that precious No. 1 slot and staying there as long as their singles will let them. Though both are considered pop stars in the world of Top 40, the girls couldn’t be more different from each other.

Lady Gaga has the name, the spectacle, the costumes, the sex. She’s proved so many times that her vocal chords are worth something, but there’s no doubt that the majority of her appeal involves the level at which she can cause jaws to drop. She’s not just an entertainer, she’s someone to follow, she’s someone to criticize and admire, to stare and to balk at. But who is Lady Gaga in real life? I’m not talking about Fuse interviews or in front of Barbara Walters. I mean on her couch, watching TV with her sister. There seems to be little evidence pre-“Just Dance” that she was ever even a regular person. I know a girl who rode the bus with “Stefani” in middle school, but do you think Lady Gaga would even admit to attending the 7th grade? Image is everything to Gags.

(That quip about the money is a lie — have you heard about Lady Gaga’s latest celeb endorsement? It’s a Polaroid product that instantly prints the photos from your smart phone, with or without the uber-hip Polaroid border in less than a minute. The price tag for the swanky “GL10?” A whopping $170, which, to be honest, I’d rather spend on a pair of tickets to the next Monster Ball.)

Adele’s appeal to the masses has absolutely nothing to do with her style, look or spectacle. In fact, she doesn’t cause much of a spectacle at all. Her stage is a simple chair with lamps, her costume a modest black dress, her hair pulled back. It’s all about the voice, baby. Even after her two Grammys in 2009, her slow and careful rise to the top with “21” was much different than the insane anticipation for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” And yet somehow, “Rolling In The Deep” sit happily above Gaga’s efforts on the Billboard charts. So how does Adele’s soulful voice of (self-quoted) “dark bluesy gospel disco” attract so many of the same music buyers as Gaga? We’re asking you, fans. With a voice like Adele’s, and a scene like Gaga’s, we’re starting to wonder…who’s gonna scoop up all the best awards at next year’s Grammys?

For your listening pleasure: An Adele vs. Gaga mashup

Follow our news and updates on Twitter, our whereabouts on Foursquare and our relationship status on Facebook. Or send us a telegram.

Allison Berger is a Philadelphia-based writer and a pop music columnist for Reverb. Check out more of her writing here.

  • windrider2

    Maybe it’s because Rolling in the Deep is such a great record. It has been decades since anyone released a gospel-blues song with this kind of soul. I love Gaga and her music, and I think The Edge of Glory is a great summer anthem radio song, the kind of roll down the windows, turn up the volume and just drive as far as the music will take you. Between Adele and Gaga, radio is finally becoming worth listening to again, because their songs stand out from all the repetitive, sound-alike dreck on the airwaves.

  • Evan

    Good pop stars do not make music to compete with each other. They make music because its what they love and both Gaga and Adele are exceptional on this front. They actually do the work of writing & composition. They actually get out there and bust their asses singing and performing live. But they also fill two entirely different niches in today’s music.

    Adele surely has the higher single sitting at #1. But have you looked at how many singles Gaga currently has on the top 100 …all from just from one album. Both deserve their success, and neither has a damn thing to prove. Least of all to each other.

  • AreZee

    It’s really an apples and oranges kind of thing.u00a0 Gaga is an entertainer, Adele is purely a singer.u00a0 I love the music of both and I am old enough to remember when simplyu00a0listening to a great singer interpret a song was a much more common experience.u00a0 In theu00a0pre-MTV years and before Elton John and groups like KISS arrived on the scene,u00a0pop music was ruled by singers:u00a0 artists like Nat King Cole and Rosemary Clooney could hold an audience spellbound with the sheeru00a0power of their vocal talents.u00a0 Today, young music fans are conditioned to song interpretationu00a0as a part of a spectacle – not as a stand-alone art form. nIt really is true that everything old becomes new again…Adele is making people stand still and just listen to the music.u00a0 There is and should be room for both the Adeles and the Lady Gagas of the music industry. One form is not necessarily better than the other.u00a0 Greatness is not limited to one type of music, thank heaven, and I am glad Adele is here to teach that lesson.

  • Oralurk

    anyone with half a brain would not look at it as gaga vs adele. u00a0In terms of talent these two are head and shoulders above the rest.

  • Pingback: I Might Be Wrong: Long live the physical format | | BUSINESS VOCABULARYBUSINESS VOCABULARY

  • NYNY

    The Music & Recording Industry of America & its’ members surely sent a clear message at the 54th Grammy Awards. Adele is respected by her peers, in addition to the 23+ Million people who purchased her Album ’21’ worldwide; 8million & counting alone in the USA as of March 2012. 
     Yet Lady Gaga & Adele are quite polar opposites.
    While Lady Gaga craves attention; dresses for *shock appeal* & to draw attention, can be bought for a certain price [Kodak endorsement], self-proclaimes her importance, is more of an entertainer than a singer, relies on Auto tune to clean up her studio vocals that is overtly apparent live and a terrible role model for young girls [wearing underwear as outerwear, dressing to draw attention to herself, bulemia to stay thin, ridiculously dangerous platform shoes to hide the fact that she is short, drug use & lastly while dressing in freakish outfits, strapping on fake body parts & cross-dressing, speaking out against bullying].
    Quite literally the opposite is Adele. Humble, quiet, reserved, she does not draw attention to herself, preferring to ‘blend in’ as a normal young adult.
    Adele dresses quite conservatively and properly for a young lady.
    Adele has always stayed true to herself & her values, refusing endorsement deals & free products [she refused several free “thousand dollar handbags” a designer offered her, stating that it wasn’t right she accept free items because of her celebrity that otherwise, like everyone else had to pay for]; stated & proved many times integrity, respect & honor is more important to her than money; has NEVER self proclaimed herself as anybody important, just a “person that wants to be a musician & singer” as a profession.
    No Auto tune, synthesizers or other gimmicks needed. She argued with Sony, Columbia Producers & execs and Won about how her songs were to be produced & released.
    Wherein the suits wanted a big band behind ‘Someone Like You’, Adele insisted the song be produced & recorded as it is, a Piano-only ballad.
    Both 19 & 21 were organically recorded & released. That is she sang into a microphone at the studio, as it was recorded, it was produced onto CD & vinyl. No gimmicks to enhance the vocals, instrumentation or sound.
    **WHEN is the LAST time you have EVER heard a singer sound BETTER LIVE than recorded**??
    While both can sing; Adele simply has more depth, power, range & vibrato in her vocal arsenal & talent than Lady Gags.
    Role Model – I LOVE that my daughters hear Adele’s message. Love yourself, your body, your curves, what G-d gave you & the way you are, but also respect yourself. It is disrespectful to flaunt your private parts in public, not lady like & certainly not “proper” or becoming of a young lady. 
     You will never see Adele “grind”, grab or gyrate her crotch onstage, don a meat dress or other “attention seeking” costume at a formal Awards ceremony much less go bra less save for two “X”‘s on her breasts or bare her bum onstage or in public.
     Adele has a woman’s body, curves, bum & all. Respectfully, she covers up in public.
    Her makeup as always flawless, never over done or trashy.
    AS much as Lady Gags monsters might make fun of Adele’s size, she does represent the average woman.
    I sleep soundly knowing my girls are dressing age appropriately; and in following Adele, realize that the way you get respect is by giving respect – And to dress respectfully. Eat healthy, be healthy, live healthy. Drugs, alcohol are bad. And if you are a curvy girl, so be it.
    Thankfully, too my girls also realize smoking is unhealthy.
    Finally- a true singer with a voice of an angel & a good, positive, strong willed, respectful young woman as a role model. All the right messages.

    Even Lady Gags admires Adele!! Enough said!!