Review: Adele’s ’25’ takes listers on an impressive musical journey through her life

Jake Tharan, Arapahoe Pinnacle Music Critic

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The anticipation had mounted for the release of Adele’s full-length follow-up to her massive 2011 record, 21. This time around, her third long-player looks to become even bigger and more meaningful than her last outing.

The new release, 25, gives listeners a look into the growth the British pop singer underwent in the four plus years since the last record. While 21 was a sort of angst-ridden break-up album, this one plays like a lamentation on the past. The record’s first single, “Hello,” reaffirms that description and sees Adele trying to reach out to a past lover. “When We Were Young” and “I Miss You” loosely follows this template, presenting a somewhat somber delivery of reflection and longing.

“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is perhaps the most upbeat, pop-oriented tune of the eleven tracks. The song starts with a single, plucked acoustic guitar over a beat before Adele’s sassy lyrical musings build up to the poppy chorus. The song serves as the boisterous middle-finger to her flame of old.

“Water Under the Bridge” is the other pop serenade of the record, but it displays more of a warning toward an old lover than the previously mentioned number. The tracks “Love in the Dark” as well as “All I Ask” return to the melancholic approach of expressing regret. “Sweetest Devotion” and “Remedy” express a warmer, uplifting tribute to members of her family. “River Lea” discusses where Adele grew up as a child, and the song “Million Years Ago” finds the songster pondering the normality of life prior to her huge success – specifically with people who treat her differently now because of it.

This recording displays a vast similarity to 21, and for that reason, fans of her music should have no reasonable trouble digging the tracks presented here. It’s full of piano ballads layered with her trademark vocals. The soul-tinged melodies of her songs are still found throughout this record, further cementing her role as a singer-songwriter.

This brings us to the true, awe-inspiring highlight of 25: Adele’s adept vocal delivery. Her voice does not require much studio doctoring or engineering, if any at all. Her soaring (and I mean soaring) voice breaks through the songs and ascends to a register that Adele commands with ease. This is particularly evident on tracks like “Hello,” “Sweetest Devotion” and “I Miss You.” The track “Hello” was the appropriate promotional single as it features the soft build-up before Adele belts out the monstrous chorus. Once the main slice of the song is cut, anyone within earshot will be saying, “Holy s—!”

Even when she isn’t boasting thunderous roars she knows when to bring the pitch down, and then when to bring it back up. She neither over does it nor under does it. Her soulful croons hit right where they should. The under-produced vocals are a real complement to this record; they allow the croons and cracks to stand out in the songs. Though the songs themselves are minimalistic and simple, her voice is the real cherry on top of this cake.

The authenticity of the singer shines on every track. After all – she had a hand writing every single track on this LP, and it shows. It seems that listeners are taking notice of that as well; 25 has already smashed just about every record for the opening week of a release. The release amassed a staggering 3.38 million units sold during its first sales-tracking week, and that’s just the figure for the United States alone.

Get on board with Britain’s singing sensation Adele. She’s got the goods.