After much anticipation, the singer-songwriter who has enraptured possibly every last person who is not completely tone deaf has finally come out of her four year long sabbatical with her third studio album, 25. Being ever the perfectionist, Adele delayed its original release date by over a year, dumping out and replacing half the tracks. In an interview with The Guardian, she said, “I would have been embarrassed if I’d got away with that record. I was trying to hurry.” Her muse comes sporadically — Adele has announced that she’d planned on retiring from of the music industry a few times, including after the release of her sophomore album, 22.
22 showcased just what the fearless, self-assured British goddess was capable of. It made the myriad other tunes in constant stream on the radio seem like mere filler. It provided us a wakeup call to up our public standards for what ought to constitute as musical talent. Adele is perhaps one of the few mainstream artists who you could silently listen to, hands clasped together on your lap, as if at a symphony, before speechlessly applauding at each flourishing finish. Her stage presence is minimalistic — at least in comparison with the full-on camaraderie expected of pop stars today. She has notoriously denied being the face of several ads for numerous companies, refusing to stray from her only purpose to the public: to write songs and sing them damn well.
Adele lays het talent out raw, not relying on the least bit of gimmick. If her sophomore album proved to be the zenith of her artistic merit, then 25 is that much-needed reminder to fans, like a fierce slap bringing them out of their deprived stupor, that her work could only get better and never lose novelty or dilapidate. This is not surprising given all the meticulous care she puts into her work, much like the artist who never quite finishes his painting no matter how perfect it may look to the buyers in the market. Adele’s third studio album is more than a mere comeback. It has attained a similar kind of legendary anticipation to the coming of the next solar eclipse.
Nothing describes 25 better than this quote from the same Guardian article: “Where 21 sounded as if it was written while cradling an open wound, 25 comes over more like the study of interesting scars.” Adele is clearly over the heartbreak. Her songs remain melancholic for the most part, but undoubtedly more subdued than the tracks from 21. Her sophomore album was the heated, intense pain after the breakup with the one who got away — or the absolute arse — whatever you want to call him. 25 is the calm reflection which comes months after, when rational thought is again possible.
Adele finds a source of inspiration in remembering the past so that while her heart has long left that place, her mind occasionally wanders there. “Million Years Ago” clearly reflects this kind of mature nostalgic, I-have-learned-from-my-mistakes motif repeated throughout the album. The song is set to the tempo of a tango in stark contrast to the immediate bombastic heartbreak expressed in “Rolling in the Deep.”
The lyrics of “Send My Love” include, “We ain’t kids no more” and “I’m giving you up, I’ve forgiven it all” which confirm the I’m-over-it vibe she is stresses on 25. Also, it is notably more upbeat than any of the other songs she has ever written and quite reminiscent of Lorde’s Royals.
And of course, recent hit single “Hello,” which has already reached iconic status despite it being merely weeks since its release, forms the backbone of the album. It is classic grieving Adele; an album standout that gives fans relief that their favorite belting songstress has not lost her soul streak. While in sound it is similar to “Rolling in the Deep,” “Hello” does not express any kind of pain or regret akin to wishing to get back with a lover but rather she has confirmed that she has moved on, but still revives old, almost-ancient emotions.
Article by Angelica Zocchi