Lewis Lockridge // Contributing writer
After the birth of her son and a four-year hiatus, Adele Adkins has made her way back into the music scene with the release of her new album, 25. The singer, who is two years older than her album title suggests, confirmed the long-awaited release of her third studio album in a Facebook post. She explained the album was going to be a make-up record, in contrast to 21, which was a break-up record. 25 is predicted to sell at least 2.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Unlike Adele’s prior albums, which are filled with powerful ballads that appeal to victims of a broken heart, 25 strays from heartbreak in exchange for what seems to be a lifetime of regret and past experiences that have shaped the pop star into the person she is today.
25 is another beautiful showcase of Adele’s once-in-a-generation voice. The first track, kick-off No. 1 hit “Hello,” sets the album’s tone as a powerhouse ballad with a volcanic chorus.
The song tells the story of a past lover and the unfinished business that accompanies a bad break-up. Its resplendence comes from the powerful chorus, where Adele belts out the emotional lyrics:
“Hello from the other side/I must have called a thousand times/To tell you I’m sorry for everything/I’ve done. But when I call you never seem to be home.”
On par with “Hello” is the powerful “All I Ask.” A simple piano ballad, co-written and produced by Bruno Mars, it brings us back to 21-era Adele. The song gives listeners a sense of what it feels like to yearn for a lover one hasn’t even had a chance to lose, and it drops them into a rollercoaster of emotional pain that comes with lost love.
The powerful ballads don’t stop there, though. “River Lea” and “Love in the Dark” continue to revisit the old Adele who spoke of heartache, but somehow these tracks hit harder. In the darker “River Lea,” Adele apologizes to a future lover for being unable to truly satisfy, knowing she might be the true cause behind her own heartache.
While “Love In The Dark” plays on the same themes of her previous hit, “Someone Like You,” what sets this song apart is that Adele is the one who ends this relationship instead of the other way around. Lyrically, it almost sounds as if, for the first time, Adele is breaking off a relationship she knows is falling apart:
“But I don’t want to carry on like everything is fine/The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight/Please don’t fall apart/I can’t face your breaking heart/I’m trying to be brave/Stop asking me to stay.”
Speaking of previous hits, Adele’s track “Million Years Ago,” expresses the same themes and emotions of “Hometown Glory.” Both songs speak to Adele’s sensitivity of her hometown, but “Million Years Ago,” focuses on the singer’s memories of her youth in South London where she and her friends used to frequent. The track lyrically expresses Adele’s nostalgia for her past and how South London is no longer full of friends, but instead full of memories.
However, not all of Adele’s albums are filled with robust melodies that pull us in, particularly the track “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).”
While the song makes use of Adele’s vocal prowess, the pluck of the guitar combined with the chorus sounds more like cookie-cutter pop in the vein of Taylor Swift. The track was co-written by Max Martin, who has worked with Swift, and the pop influence becomes apparent in the chorus. The same applies for “Water Under The Bridge,” which sounds like a mediocre pop-hit consisting of the same verse throughout the entire song, similar to 21‘s “Rumor Has It.”
The album ends with the beautiful “Sweetest Devotion.” This track is an obvious dedication to her son, Angelo, featuring a recording of his voice at the start of the song. In the bridge, Adele lists everything her child is to her, calling him her “light,” her “darkness,” her “right kind of madness” and her “scope of everything everywhere.” The true expression of her love comes from the heartwarming chorus:
“The sweetest devotion/ Hit me like an explosion/ All of my life I’ve been frozen/ the sweetest devotion I know.”
Overall, this long-awaited album shouldn’t disappoint fans. 25 shined a new light in Adele’s favor and proves to be a worthy successor to 19 and 21.
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To contact Lifestyles Editor Rhiannon Gilbert, email firstname.lastname@example.org.