Adele’s 25: The Icon Returns

If there were a voice that rivaled all other voices, a voice that stands out amongst the vast list of vocalists in the modern age, what would happen if one day, that voice was suddenly gone? What would happen if that vocalist, who’d reached unthinkable peaks and had successes unimaginable for someone in their genre or appearance, just went away, without the guarantee of a return?

That was a scenario that listeners around the world had to come to terms with when the lovable cockney-toned, cackling songstress Adele popped off the face of the music scene. Little bits of information surfaced, one of those bits being her giving birth to her son, Angelo. She was rarely photographed, having a seemingly easy time avoiding the paparazzi and not releasing any music. For the grand majority of the listeners out there, it was all but stated that the woman who set fire to the rain was gone from music for good.

That was until one night four years later, on an episode of The X Factor UK.

“Hello,” a familiar voice crooned. “It’s me.” Within minutes, social media exploded. People on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and even Snapchat were losing their marbles over an artist that had touched their hearts with her bleeding heart of a sophomore album 21. It was later announced that she would be releasing a new album in the late of 2015, entitled 25, with the single “Hello” to be released shortly before.

So, she continues to name the albums after the age in which they were mostly written. First with 19, then with 21, and now with 25, the London-born legend continues to encapsulate what her life was like at those ages, almost like a journal with really poetic and beautiful lyrics. Well, the time has come and 25 is out to the masses. People are loving it, buying their booze and buckets to fill with their tears. This is sure to be an emotional rollercoaster, and I can’t wait.

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Here’s my track by track review of Adele’s 25:

Hello
The X Factor track, which is a literal introduction from her four year hiatus. She opens the song – and the album – directly speaking to someone, a lover whom she’s done wrong. It seems that this lover doesn’t respond to her, doesn’t listen to what she has to say. It’s a beautiful pop ballad that pulls your heart right from your chest and waves it in your face. Adele’s voice has only gotten better and she hits some extremely memorable notes here. One of the album’s best, and the perfect choice for a first single.

Favorite Lyric:I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
Rating: 10/10

Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
Adele does pop. In her own way, sure, but this a joyous foot stomping jam about being an adult about a breakup and sending your love to the new relationship that your ex-lover has found. This song is a must choice for a single. It could dominate radio. With Adele’s signature voice hitting a falsetto that’s just angelic and a chorus that’s begging to be played in the car, this could easily be the next number one for Adele.

Favorite Lyric:We’ve got to let go of all of our ghosts/We both know we ain’t kids no more.

Rating: 10/10

I Miss You
With a track title like this, you’re almost begging for a melancholy breakup song that will cause some of the biggest crying session’s you’ve ever imagined, especially with it being Adele. But that’s not what this is. It’s a huge, banging slow jam that I’m hopelessly in love with. The lyricism is beyond stunning and the dark production, the slow, yet paced percussion. Every portion of this song is carefully plotted – you can tell in the way that it’s so perfectly put together – but it’s still executed effortlessly and wonderfully. I have a feeling that there won’t be a bad song on this album, but if these first couple songs are any indication, I’m probably right.

Favorite Lyric: “I want every single piece of you/I want your heaven and your oceans too”

Rating: 10/10

When We Were Young
Now this is what we’ve been waiting for. The slow, yet steady ballad that’s oozing emotion and memoriam. This song is so romantic, so elegantly done, but it’s also sad. It’s a song about meeting someone and just wanting to capture the moments before things went wrong, reminiscing and wanting to get back what you had. It feels like she’s telling the story with this song, a story that doesn’t need any other songs to back it up. That’s why this should be the second single. It could be another “Someone Like You” or “Turning Tables”; extremely successful, yet heart-wrenching.

Favorite Lyric:We were sad of getting old/It made us restless“

Rating: 10/10

Remedy
If there’s one thing Adele just excels at, it’s heartfelt ballads that cut to the core and make you feel pain from relationships that you’ve never experienced. This is the first song that’s just as it is, there doesn’t feel like there’s an underlying story, or something too deep within it. This is the first time that we just see things as they are in what can almost only be described as tunnel vision. The listener is so captured by her vocals and the beautiful piano in the background only makes it more enticing.

Favorite Lyric: “No river is to wide or too deep for me to swim to you”
Rating: 10/10

Water Under The Bridge
This is the next “Set Fire to the Rain”. Right here. A nice beat, coupled with beautiful, yet gritty vocals, with a beautiful chord progression just drizzled over the top like candy sprinkles on ice cream. The chorus is explosive, yet elegant. The verses – the way she just slides through the chords like wading through water – is just pleasing to the ear. Might be my favorite on the album.

Favorite Lyric:It’s so old out here in your wilderness/I want you to be my keeper/But not if you are so reckless
Rating: 10/10

River Lea
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Adele just comes in a drops my favorite song on the album. She just drops it at my feet. Beautiful, poetic lyrics. A chord progression in the verses. The imagery created. And that chorus. I can’t even talk about it because I’m still recovering. She took us to church and back home in one song. There’s this part, though, in the chorus that’s particularly intoxicating. She blames it on the River Lea, whatever it is. But I don’t care what it is because this is such a perfect jam. I can’t wait to turn this up in the car.

Favorite Lyric:It’s in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain
Rating: 11/10

Love in the Dark
It’s over halfway through the album and the excitement hasn’t gone down yet. It’s like Adele’s voice is a drug and with every song that passes, it’s another high again and again, routinely keeping you on cloud ten. This is a lovely ballad that’s unsurprisingly gut-wrenching, yet soft and sweet. She’s found her sound. It’s clear to see and I’m in love with it. There’s this string arrangement in the bridge that’s just epic and beautiful. Listen to it. Adore it.

Favorite Lyric:Take your eyes off me so that I can leave/I’m far too ashamed to do it with you watching me
Rating: 10/10

Million Years Ago
A guitar-strummed, reflective song about how Adele isn’t who she’d thought that she’d be and how she misses having a life, friends, and family. It’s a very relatable song that seems to cut deep for anyone going through a transition in their life. And even if you’re not going through something, she’ll make you feel like you are with her obviously superhuman ability to make you feel the pain of something you’ve never experienced. A highlight of the album for sure.

Favorite Lyric:Life was a party to be thrown/But that was a million years ago
Rating: 10/10

All I Ask
You know, for any other mainstream artist, having so many ballads in a row or even having so many slow songs on an album can get boring very quick, with the mainstream needing to have a little pace nowadays. But that’s the genius of Adele. She can pull it off and excel at it. I continue to use the world excel because this is an icon we’re talking about. She’s not just some artist half-assing an album that they’ve thrown together to make a quick buck. This is an artist that documents her reality, her life with music and lyricism. She’s a poet of rhythm and vocal talents foreign to the mainstream in the recent years.

This song is very beautiful, talking about just being more than friends for one night, especially if she’ll never feel like this ever again. The chord progression, the vocals. All of it is just so fantastic and effortlessly done. I wouldn’t call it a highlight of the album, but mother of God, this is a fantastic track.

Favorite Lyric:I don’t want to be cruel or vicious and I ain’t asking for forgiveness
Rating: 9/10

Sweetest Devotion
This is the song that closes the standard edition of the album and it’s just lovely. It’s got a folk, country feel to it, yet still feels like an Adele song. An ode to her child, Angelo, this song tells of the unconditional love of having a child and how it affects a person. The production is light, while still keeping a nice pace. Her vocals are flawless as usual and she really bears the feeling of being so devoted and loved by something that’s just out of this world.

Favorite Lyric:All my life, you’re my darkness/You’re the right kind of madness

Rating: 10/10

Can’t Let Go
The first of the Target deluxe tracks and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful ballad about loving someone so much, but they broke your heart, and you still can’t get over them. It’s so relatable and elegantly done. Her voice is so rich and full of substance here.

Favorite Lyric:I gave you heaven on a platter baby/I gave you everything you never gave me

Rating: 10/10

Lay Me Down
I can see why this was added as a bonus track. It doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the tracks on the standard edition, but it’s still amazing. It feels like a callback to her debut album 19 and the jazzy, seedy club feeling to it. Her vocals sound brilliant. She needs to perform this one live.

Favorite Lyric:You can read my mind/Be it truth or lies

Rating: 9/10

Why Do You Love Me
Again, like the previous track, this doesn’t feel like something that would’ve fit in with the rest of the tracks. It doesn’t change how much I like it though. It’s not my favorite, but it’s certainly a strong track. Adele can’t really make a bad song. I don’t think she’s capable of it. It’s the one thing she can’t do.

Favorite Lyric:You have a place in my heart that will always be yours/You are the peak and the art of my universe
Rating: 8/10

This album has proven, like its predecessors, that Adele is a force to be reckoned with and a true icon. She can disappear for years and come back twice as strong. She wasn’t sure if she’d be able to top the success of 21, but from my point of view, she has done just that. 21 was a success, yes, and will forever be iconic, but this album is like an evolved version.

Adele’s music is like fine wine. It gets better with age.
19 was brilliant.
21 was iconic.
And 25?
25 is legendary.

Download ‘25’ on iTunes

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