Adele is on the cusp of musical history with her third album “25”. Following up her album “21” which sold over
30 million copies worldwide, it’s more of what we’ve come to expect from Ms. Adkins which should please most,
and infuriate those willing her to experiment. But why should she when it’s worked so well so far, and when what
we have is this good?
Lead single and opening cut “Hello” is a haunting piano ballad building to a bombastic chorus, her vocals a force
to be reckoned with – effortless or explosive as the need arises with some soulful raspiness. There’s more where
that came from; the heartfelt “When We Were Young” (which finds her singing “You look like a movie, you sound like
a song… this reminds me of when we were young”), the spare and resonant piano ballad “Remedy”, the enchanting
and theatrical “Love In The Dark”, the incredibly stunning Chanson-tinged guitar ballad
“Million Years Ago” (“I miss when life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago” – my favorite),
the yearning “All I Ask”, and the ode to her 3 year old son Angelo
“Sweetest Devotion” (“There is something in your living that tears down my walls” she sings to a bluesy groove).
The Max Martin-produced “Send My Love (To your New Lover)” has a playful pop lilt. “Treat me soft but touch me
cruel, I want to teach you things you never knew” she sings to a staccato of skittery beats and whisps of Gregorian
chants on “I Miss You”. The haunting gospel-tinged “River Lea” is co-written and produced by Brian “Danger Mouse”
Burton, the most out there offering on this collection but in an understated way, and lyrics
touching on her Tottenham roots. “When I was a child, I grew up by the River Lea, there was something in the
water, and now that something’s in me” she sings.
Lyrically, we find her embracing growth and adulthood, with some fleeting glances behind. Musically,
she eschews current trends and does her own thing. I did mention she’s on the cusp of musical history.
“Hello” is the first single to sell over a million downloads in a week in the US, while the album is expected to shift
over 2 million in a week. It might not be groundbreaking, but she’s sure to move the earth with this. Beautiful…