I won’t deny that I was extremely excited for this album. It’s been a whole four-years since the world has heard a full-length record from Adele Adkins, arguably one of the best voices of our generation. The long awaited record is called 25 and it is Adele’s third album following the monumental success of 21 and 19.
“Hello, it’s me” are the fitting opening lines of the album and first single ‘Hello’. The track skyrocketed up the charts almost immediately after its release last month and created an intense anticipation for Adele’s album, and her re-entry into the music world in general. It’s a song that grabs you in the guts, just like 21’s ‘Someone Like You’ and ‘Rolling in the Deep’.
However, if you expect the rest of the album to follow suit, it doesn’t. The second track on the album is jarringly different. The jumpy ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’ – co-written by Max Martin – is undeniably catchy, but could just as easily be a Taylor Swift single. I say this because it doesn’t exhibit Adele’s deep soulful voice, and it’s giddy with pop-y vocal licks. Co-writer Martin has (unsurprisingly) produced plenty of number one hits with the likes of Taylor Swift (‘I Knew You Were Trouble’) and The Weeknd (‘Can’t Feel My Face’). The song is enjoyable, but it doesn’t sound authentic.
The record is then padded out with nostalgia filled, middle of the road songs like ‘When We Were young’, ‘River Lea’ and ‘Million Years Ago’. But as we get to the tail end some 21esque, emotion-packed power-ballads shine through. ‘All I Ask’ is a piano-driven tearjerker, and has Adkins belting out “It matters how this ends/‘cause what if I never love again?”. Then comes ‘Sweetest Devotion’, the album’s big finish. It’s an ode to her son, Angelo, and even has recordings of his voice at the beginning and end of the track. It’s a fitting end, her voice is strong and confident, and she’s happy.
25 is where Adele is now. It’s not the most earthshattering album, and it’s most certainly no 21, but it’s true to Adkin’s. The last thing the music world needs is for Adkins to fake some sort of heartbreak or unhappiness for the sake of a record. 25 won’t connect with everyone, and it won’t blow your mind, but this is Adele’s journey and we’re just watching from the sidelines.
Review Score: 6.8 out of 10
25 is out now.