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Turning Tables (song)

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Adele
Writer(s) Adele, Ryan Tedder
Producer(s) Jim Abbiss
B-side "Rumour Has It" (released simultaneously)
Released November 5, 2011 (UK)
December 14, 2011 (Italy)
Length 4:10
From 21
Singles "Rolling in the Deep"
"Someone Like You"
"Set Fire to the Rain"
"Rumour Has It"
"Turning Tables"
21 track listing
"Don't You Remember"

"Turning Tables" is a song by the English singer-songwriter Adele from her second studio album, 21. The song was written by Adele and Ryan Tedder and it was produced by Jim Abbiss. The pop song was written in the key of C Minor. [1]

"Turning Tables" charted on number 63 on Billboard Hot 100 and number 60 on Canadian Hot 100 after it was performed by Gwyneth Paltrow on Fox's televison show, Glee. It also charted on number 81 in Australia and number 62 on UK Singles Chart. "Turning Tables" was also rumored to be the fourth single off of 21, following "Set Fire to the Rain" and preceding the rumored fifth single, "Rumour Has It", however, it was replaced by "Rumour Has It" as the fourth single and was instead rumored to be the fifth single, although Jonathan Dickins confirmed that "Rumour Has It" was the fourth and final single from the album. [2] It was released as the fourth single in Italy and the fifth in the Netherlands, though. [1] Due to a huge amount of radio airplay the song received on top 40 mainstream radio (along with "I'll Be Waiting"), it has been deemed an unofficial single from the album.

"Rumour Has It" was released as the song's B-Side. The two were released simultaneously as singles. Ironically, while "Turning Tables" originally was planned to be the fifth track on the album rather than the third, it still followed "Rumour Has It" in the track listing for 21, as "Rumour Has It" was also planned to be the fourth track rather than the second. [3] Although "Turning Tables" is considered a single, as it did receive official releases in several countries, it was only an unofficial single in the United States, according to several sources, including Billboard. [4] It did receive airplay in some parts of the United States, but the airplay was extremely limited.

The only countries it received an official release in were the UK (on November 5, 2011, simultaneously with "Rumour Has It") and in Italy (on December 14, 2011). It was certified Gold in Canada and the United States despite not receiving an official release in either country; it was certified Platinum in Italy. [1]

Background and compositionEdit

"Turning Tables" was written by Adele and Ryan Tedder. The song was conceived following a confrontation with Adele's ex. In the studio, Adele had gotten upset and emotional that her ex had kept "turning the tables" on her during their fights, and Tedder used this idea as a concept for composing the song.

Adele revealed to Radio Times that after writing this piano ballad, she originally thought that, "we should give it to Leona Lewis, 'Bleeding Love' is one of my favorite songs ever." Lewis was a classmate of Adele at the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology. [5]

According to the sheet music published on Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, "Turning Tables" is an Adult Alternative, Alternative Pop/Rock, Pop, Rock, and Neo-Soul song written in the key of C Minor. Adele's vocal range expands from the note of G3 to C5. It is written in the common time with 78 beats per minute.

Lyrically, the song describes the breakdown of a relationship and the tendency of one party to continuously twist the situation to his favour. The song is an understated piano-and-vocal ballad, stripped down to its most minimal elements, and towards the climax, swells into a "cinematic pop anthem laced with Broadway-worthy strings" that "serves as a fitting counterpoint to its heartbroken, hollowed-out lyrics." [1]

ReleaseEdit

After the release of 21, several fans cited "Turning Tables" as one of the album's best and most heart-wrenching tracks. Following XL Recordings' decision to cancel the release of "Rumour Has It" in favor of "Set Fire to the Rain", it was revealed that "Rumour Has It" and "Turning Tables" would be released simultaneously in the UK with a probable back-to-back release in the United States.

On November 5, 2011, "Rumour Has It" and "Turning Tables" were both sent to mainstream radio in the UK. [6] On December 14, 2011, "Turning Tables" was released as a standalone single in Italy. [7] The song was also released in parts of Australia due to its popularity. Following the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Ryan Tedder confirmed that "Rumour Has It" and "Turning Tables" would be the fourth and fifth singles, respectively. [8]

After the release of "Rumour Has It", it was again confirmed that "Turning Tables" was to be the fifth and probably final single from the album. [9] Following the Grammys, Adele's manager Jonathan Dickins revealed that "Rumour Has It" would be the fourth and final single from the album, therefore cancelling the release of "Turning Tables" in the United States. [10] Despite this, a music video was released for "Turning Tables" prior to its planned release, and it did receive some airplay on various radio stations throughout the US. In late summer of 2012, the song received airplay on many radio stations, along with "I'll Be Waiting", due to a huge demand of new Adele music from fans and listeners. [11] Many fans consider the song a single from the album due to its heavy promotion and planned release.

In 2013, Digital Spy listed "Turning Tables" as one of their "19 Pop Singles That Should Have Been" and publicly declared that while 21 didn't need the extra promotion, the lack of an official release of the "heart-tugging ballad" in the United States was very disappointing. [12]

ReceptionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

John Murphy in a review for 21 said, "Turning Tables is a fragile piano ballad which really shows off Adele's wonderful voice to its best effect - almost cracking with emotion at times, she really lives the lyrics." [1]

Chart performancesEdit

"Turning Tables" charted on number 63 on Billboard Hot 100 after it was performed by Gwyneth Paltrow on Fox's Glee. It charted on number 60 on Canadian Hot 100. It also charted on number 81 in Australia and number 62 on UK Singles Chart with 4,320 sales. [1]

Live performances, cover versions, and usage in mediaEdit

"Turning Tables", which Adele stated she was "really looking forward to" performing live [13], was part of the setlist on Adele's second tour, Adele Live. She performed it at various other venues, in addition to this, including Largo (where she performed an acoustic version with only vocals and piano), the Walmart Soundcheck, On Q With Jian Ghomeshi, Live from the Artists Den, the Tabernacle, and the Royal Albert Hall.

Usage in mediaEdit

The song was also featured in the season 6 episode of Criminal Minds entitled "Coda". [14]

Cover versionsEdit

Gwyneth Paltrow from the American musical comedy-drama series Glee, covered the song during the second season episode "A Night of Neglect". Glee's version of the song charted on number 75 on UK Singles Chart with 3,513 copies. The Reverb Junkie sampled the music in their track "Can't Stop Turning Tables" from their forthcoming remix album, Feat. Vocea României (The Voice — Romania) season one contestant Oana Radu performed "Turning Tables" during the auditions and made all four judges (Smiley, Loredana Groza, Horia Brenciu and Marius Moga) turn their chairs in her favor. All four praised her vocal performance and compared her both visually and vocally to Adele with her choosing the latter one as mentor. [1]

Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote the song with Adele, covered the song at a OneRepublic concert in 2011. [15]

ChartsEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (2011–12) Peak

position

Australia (ARIA) 34
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders) 4
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia) 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 60
Israel (Media Forest) 3
Italy (FIMI) 8
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 15
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100) 45
South Korea International Singles (Gaon) 62
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company) 62
US Billboard Hot 100 63
US Billboard Latin Pop Songs 38

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^
Brazil (ABPD) Gold 50,000*
Canada (Music Canada) Gold 40,000^
Italy (FIMI) Platinum 30,000*
United States (RIAA) Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom 5 November 2011 Mainstream radio XL Recordings
Italy 14 December 2011 Airplay

LyricsEdit

Close enough to start a war
All that I have is on the floor
God only knows what we're fighting for
All that I say, you always say more

I can't keep up with your turning tables
Under your thumb, I can't breathe...
So I won't let you close enough to hurt me
No, I won't rescue you to just desert me
I can't give you the heart you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
To turning tables

Under haunted skies I see you
Oooh, where love is lost, your ghost is found
I braved a hundred storms to leave you
As hard as you try, no, I will never be knocked down

I can't keep up with your turning tables
Under your thumb, I can't breathe...
So I won't let you close enough to hurt me
No, I won't rescue you to just desert me
I can't give you the heart you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
Turning tables

Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own saviour
When the thunder calls for me
Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own saviour
Standing on my own two feet

I won't let you close enough to hurt me
No, I won't rescue you to just desert me
I can't give you the heart you think you gave me
It's time to say goodbye to turning tables
To turning tables
Turning tables, yeah
Turning, ohh...

ReferencesEdit

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