REVIEW: Adele – ’25’

’25’ has been one of the most anticipated pop albums of 2015, putting an end to the four-year wait for a new Adele album.

Her last album, ’21’, took the public by storm producing ballad after ballad, number one after number one. It was an album that defined a generation of break-ups, and painted Adele in a new light – someone who could turn their pain into power with songs like Rolling in The Deep but still show her vulnerable side with Someone Like You.

Four years on, the subject matter hasn’t changed, heartbreak being the central theme, but where ’21’ was a young woman’s break-up record, ’25’ is – in her own words – her “make-up record”.

Overnight sensation and lead track Hello is the perfect appetiser for the rest of the album. A ballad to the core, the lyrics matched with the power in her voice will have you missing people you’ve never met. Beautifully produced, Hello is expected to go down as another Adele classic.

Send My Love (To Your New Lover) follows and is an acoustic goodbye to a former flame. I Miss You is the opposite; haunting back-up vocals, heavy on the drums and more rough than smooth in her vocals.

When We Were Young looks set to be the album’s next release with acoustic versions already circulating online, a nostalgic look back at what used to be. Adele herself described it to Graham Norton as “a happy song sang in a sad way”.

The deeply personal and reflective Million Years Ago is evocative on CD, but when she performs it live it will be monumental. River Lea steers away from her usual powerhouse chords and complements Million Years Ago as a nod to where she came from.

Sweetest Devotion closes the album brilliantly – the happiest most upbeat track, the piano builds with her voice, a culmination of growing up and how far she’s come.

The beauty of this album is that while listening to it, you can picture her face and exactly how she’s feeling. Her voice is simultaneously powerful and vulnerable – you find yourself connecting with emotions you’ve never felt.

’25’ has come under criticism that in comparison to ’21’, Adele hasn’t tried anything new. It’s the same old tale of heartbreak and nostalgia. But as a stand-alone album, it’s still brilliant. It’s beautifully written and has been carefully crafted over the last four years, no song gets lost in the production.

Adele, with her three albums ’19’, ’21’ and ’25’ has crafted a timeline of emotions, her adult life through song. Go out, buy ’25’, sit down and listen to it. If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you’re about to remember it now.

Alison Ring

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