Well it has finally arrived. Today is the day that music fans around the world have been waiting for: NEW ADELE!
An artist like Adele, who has been absent from the music scene for over 4 years and has such a world-wide following, is aware the scrutiny her newest album will be facing. Much like Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller‘ being such a smash, record-making success, Adele’s ‘21′ from 2011 broke almost every music industry record there is (a lot of which were set by ‘Thriller’). Like Jackson’s release of ‘Bad’ 5 years after ‘Thriller’ there was an immense pressure on himself to outsell the massive album. Adele decided long ago that her only mission is to please her public while being true to herself. The major success she found with ’21’ could never be calculated to be outdone. What she may not realize is that with her withdrawing from public eye to raise her first child, Angelo, and to have a bit of a life to herself gave her public a hunger for her music. She has definitely delivered quite the feast with ‘25‘ for all who are ready to fulfill their craving.
The album is exactly what I was anticipating and what others may be disappointed in; new music with a very familiar sound. Too often have we seen artists like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry fall victim to the industry needing too much too fast and risking their musical integrity by changing their sound to make a quick record. Both Gaga’s ‘Artpop‘ and Perry’s ‘Prism‘ delivered soft singles but nowhere near the success or acceptance their previous albums had. With ’25’ being the follow-up to the “album of the decade’ there is a risk factor that luckily Adele has avoided. The record is wistful, thoughtful, sad, jubilant and passionate. It is human emotion. Her voice has never been more controlled, and that’s not saying that she holds back, it means she knows exactly when to let go and set her voice free. There are those that will be annoyed with her still as this atypical sad singer that everyone will play only when they need to. I say that is exactly what music is supposed to do to us. It makes us react. It makes us weep, dance, smile, think, love and celebrate. Adele has merely continued to pave the road of originality that she had created in 2008 with the release of ‘19‘.
I have found the reflection of youth being portrayed quite a bit on the album. In the first single “Hello” she makes mention to her old love about “what it was like when we were younger” which is also the title to my personal favorite track “When We Were Younger“. In it she lists all the reasons why she wants to keep her memories alive and will always remember the subtleties of her subject while in their youth. There is a track about her roots “River Lea” which has a great groove and soulfulness (not mention a catchy chorus). She dabbles in the upbeat and more produced backing with the track “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)“. In this track she sends her warning of heart-break to the new love her man has moved on to; Adele is unaffected and makes sure to have it known with her sweeping falsetto. I can almost hear her lip curling in disgust when recording it. The song “Million Years Ago” bring us the Adele we all want to see in a small cafe with only her voice and a guitar. It has a slight Janis Ian influence to it; bare, moving with a touch of Spanish melody. As a whole the album delivers the facets of Adele that the world loves. From a grandparent to a teenager, American to Japanese, boys to girls she connects and emotes with the public. While every track deserves a listen I’m sure that ’25’ will be criticized by those who want to see it fail, but time will tell how successful the album will be. And even if this record never got a single accolade I am proud to see that real music that affects the human soul on every level is being made. That is all we can ask of an artist.
The album is currently unavailable for streaming but can be purchased on iTunes and in store.
Kevin Charles Ross