CD: Adele - 25 | reviews, news & interviews
CD: Adele - 25
CD: Adele - 25
She's back – all hail the queen of soul-pop
The anticipation for Adele’s new album has been building for months. It’s been nearly five years since her last, 21, which became the biggest-selling album of the 21st century, shifting over 30 million copies.
Numbering the ages at which she wrote most of the material, 25 is a make-up album where 21 was a break-up and 19 just plain ol’ heartbreak. There’s no question about whether or not 25 will live up to the hype of the absurdly successful former albums – the first single , "Hello", shot straight to the top of the UK and US charts and was viewed an average one million times an hour on YouTube. It is perhaps the most recognisably Adele song – a belter of a chorus, melodies and lyrics to sob along to, and a crescendo that will make your spine tingle.
“When We Were Young” follows in a similar vein with its swooping, soaring dynamics, dramatic plot and gospel backing singers. It's representative in theme of much of the album in that it’s gut-wrenching and soulful but also contemplative and composed. The drama is here, in stories unfolding of chance meetings with ex-lovers, making peace with old flames and a cathartic process of finding the self within the turmoil of her relationship history. The making up is with herself - retrospection ending with a better understanding of the past, and her place in the present.
There’s a yo-yoing rhythmic bounce in "Send My Love", raspy licks and waves of rhythm in "I Miss You" and ballads to grab a hairbrush-microphone and sing along to with "Remedy", "Love in the Dark" and "All I Ask". In "Million Years Ago", Adele laments that “I feel like my life is flashing by and all I can do is watch and cry”. It’s carried by a flamenco guitar backing and sung with soothing softness, using the the lower tones of her voice. Then there’s some finger-snapping and toe-tapping in the London soul of "River Lea" and the pop beat of "Water Under the Bridge".
Adele has dug deep to bare her soul. It’s as if she has written love-letters to former selves and characters who’ve played roles in her love life, as well as one joyful little ditty to the smallest man with perhaps the biggest presence in her life. "Sweetest Devotion" is a darling song – a skipping, tripping, joyful burst of rhymes and “woo-hoos" written about her son to whom she sings “you will only be, eternally, the one that I’ll belong to".
25 is remniscent of all the best things we love about Adele – the soaring, passionate powerhousing along with a fragility and honesty in her exploration of who she used to be. There is nostalgia, melancholy and joy in equal measure, wrapped in an acceptance of her place as musician, lover and mother.
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