Adele Astonishes in 25
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Back in 2011, the pop and soul superstar Adele became an international sensation with the best selling album 21. The album went platinum in the United Kingdom and United States music charts, with tracks like “Rolling In the Deep” and “Set Fire to the Rain” keeping the number one position for months on streaming and iTunes charts globally.
After this album, Adele debated the idea of not producing any more music so that she could end her career on a high note. She eventually decided against this, and after 4 long years of silence from the pop singer she released the album 25.
Adele certainly has a history of topping music charts, and this album seems to be no different. The biggest hit off of the album is the popular song “Hello,” which has put her back on the radio with a punch.
21 was received very well by audiences and critics alike, and became a sensation worldwide. Has Adele grown as an artist and improved on her earlier work? Let’s venture into this album to find out.
25 opens with its biggest hit, “Hello,” a song that is filled with a strong sense of desperation and melancholic singing that Adele has been known to do so well. The opening statement of the song “They say time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing” seems to say a lot about the last silent years of Adele’s life.
After the depressing album that 21 was, with lyrics mostly about breakups and feeling isolated, this verse in the beginning of 25 seems to reveal that her style has not changed.
However, she proves herself wrong on the very next song.“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is a breakup song, which isn’t new territory for Adele. However, this time around, she is full of fire and aggression directed toward her ex. Rather than wallowing in her sadness, she lashes out at him with lyrics like “I was too strong, you were trembling, you couldn’t handle the hot heat rising” and “you set me free!”
These lyrics prove that Adele is willing to experiment with her music, and that she may have grown as an artist. She is willing to explore different ideas and branch out to different styles of songwriting. She continues to differentiate herself from her old techniques further into the album.
In the song “When We Were Young” Adele sings nostalgically of memories brought on by seeing someone she hasn’t been in contact with for a long time. There is a particularly dreamy tone in her voice, as if she is actually reminiscing on old times she spent with this person. There is tangible emotion in her voice when she sings “It’s hard to admit everything just takes me back, when you were there.”
This song is definitely a high-point in the album that shows Adele can capture a feeling in her voice and lyrics very well.
Nostalgia plays a heavy hand in another high-point song “River Lea,” about the childhood that Adele occasionally wishes to return to.
“When I was a child I grew up by the River Lea, There was something in the water, now that something’s in me,” she sings.
She idolizes the waters of the River Lea, making them seem magical and youthful. Her association of her childhood with the River Lea makes for a very gripping listen, and her descriptions are warm and heartfelt.
Musically, the album had a team of very big name producers, such as Bruno Mars and Paul Epworth. The album comes out as a bit poppier than her last project, but there is certainly lots of soul and gospel blended in.
21 had a downbeat, melancholy tone that expanded to almost every song on the album. 25 comes to a bit more of a happy sound, although the songs still have the gripping sadness that Adele’s music has always seemed to capture.
There is a lot of musical variety on the newest album. “Million Years Ago” is a simple acoustic guitar track, while “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is an all-out disco-influenced song that is heavily produced.
“Remedy” is a soulful ballad with heavy piano, while the very next song, “Water Under the Bridge,” has a steady fast drum beat behind it with a booming chorus. Each song has its own style to offer, which improves on 21’s lack of variety musically between songs.
Overall, 25 shows a significant improvement in many areas of Adele’s musicianship. 21 and 25 were named in respect to how old Adele was when the albums released. Although she only aged four years in between these projects, she has grown decades as an artist.