“If you’re not the one for me then how come I bring you to your knees,” sings Adele in her powerful new album, 25.” This will be Adele’s 3rd studio album, and since dropping it’s shattered nearly every music record in history – dethroning N’Sync’s No Strings Attached for fastest selling US record ever, a record Adele broke in only four days.
Attempting to write about 25 feels a bit like trying to describe an iceberg. How do I condense something so massive to a one page review? Adele’s new album is packed with meaning, and I’m here to break it down for you.
After crushing everyone’s heart with her 2nd studio album, 21, which was Adele’s ‘heartbreak’ album, the artist maintains that 25 is a ‘make-up’ album. With themes like nostalgia, motherhood, regret and longing for a past self, the album is really a lot of things – it’s dark and stormy, but soulful and most of all, furiously real. Adele’s smoky and lingering voice brings feelings and emotions alive. It’s not whimsical like Taylor Swift’s 1989, but more early 1980’s Carly Simon because of it’s strong connection to cryptic yet beautiful reality we face.
The opening song Hello sounds like the Adele we all remember from 21, an incredibly soulful ballad reflecting on a failed relationship. As the name of the song implies, the lyrics play out like a conversation. Adele commented that she felt Hello was the best song to kickoff her reemergence into the industry.
The album isn’t all ballads about past-loves though. The second track is a surprising up-beat pop sounding number, Send My Love (to your new lover) which I can see picking up a lot of radio play. I’ve listened to this album several times and I’ve always come back to two songs as my favorites: Water Under the Bridge and Sweetest Devotion have been in my headphones more than any other of the 11 tracks.
Water Under the Bridge is walking the fine line of being a pop song and has my favorite lyrics from the entire record. Sweetest Devotion is the final song of the record and from what I can tell is based on motherhood. Admirably so, Adele has kept her son almost entirely separate from her career, and she doesn’t mention her son or motherhood at all in the song but the lyrics point to the connection: “The sweetest devotion, hit me like an explosion.” I also strongly feel that All I Ask deserves an honorable mention. The emotion made me feel like my sternum had been cracked open.
Adele’s 25 was welcomed with open arms, and despite not being available on streaming services it didn’t suffer in sales. Chances are you’ll get something out of the album regardless of what phase of life you’re in and Adele can help you sort out the clouds in your coffee. The album is full of enormous feels, and it’s safe to say that Adele came back from her sabbatical the same way she went out: On top.