21 by Adele (2011)
IMHO, this young British singer/songwriter outdoes her debut album with this new effort. Powerful yet nuanced, hard-hearted yet tender, raw yet refined, “in-your-face” yet intimate, she blows me away with her evocative vocals.
I have heard her studio as well as unplugged versions of a couple of these tunes, and she gets air play on alternative, contemporary, and soft rock stations. This woman’s talent has wide-ranging appeal; I can’t avoid a clichéd comment: a-ma-zing.