25 – Adele (2015)

85th Annual Academy Awards - Show

“25” is the third studio album released by British Singer Songwriter Adele.

Despite only being released in November 2015 as of writing this (August 2016) the album has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In an era where we are told that artists do no sell music any more because of the internet this achievement Adele has managed to produce is phenomenal.

Whether you like Adele or not her popularity is quite remarkable. In a day and age where image is generally everything and singers are presented in such a away that the music is secondary Adele has bucked this trend. I don’t mean that in a harsh way and to be talking about the way Adele looks is going to come across shallow but it is significant given the way Pop music is presented to the masses.

Adele’s success is total anomaly and she has managed to transcend every restriction put on music artists today. She has done unbelievably well and all she has done is write honest songs about heart break and those buying her music are from 10 years old to 90.

At the end of the previous album “21” Adele had bared her soul and none more so on the track “Someone Like You”. I found this song a little concerning as she didn’t seem in the right frame of mind and I hoped she would be able to move on and get herself together.

The opening track on “25” and massive worldwide hit is “Hello”. In my opinion this song is talking about either the same relationship or one very similar as she is calling up a former boyfriend to reconnect after a period of time away from each other.

There seems to be little improvement in what has transpired as she is wondering after all these years if they would like to meet as time has not healed her wounds.

It’s very similar to “Someone Like You” because it’s conflicting. One moment she is apologising but the next she is bitter about him not picking up his phone despite previously meeting they have not seen each other in years.

Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter. It clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Musically the track is very simple and doesn’t really have anything on there which is different but it’s her voice which is rightly put to the front on this track. Frankly Adele sings the shit out this song and I bet whether you like “Hello” or not you’ve caught yourself singing or humming along to it.

“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is a refreshing change in the story Adele is telling as it’s actually a bit of a bitchy track. Adele is telling this man that he is free to move on as he has let her down to many times.

There is a line in the song:

“We both know we ain’t kids no more”

This is significant as this is a theme of “25” as Adele seems very nostalgic and through her music she is attempting to deal with getting older and leaving her younger years behind.

“I Miss You” is simple enough with it’s title. Adele misses this man and mainly when the lights go down. This track is again a slight change for Adele as she talks more about intimacy and sex. Musically the track is similar to on “Hello” with the big drums on a mid tempo beat. I don’t find this track particular interesting and it goes on for far too long.

“When We We Young” again strikes at the theme of nostalgia. The lyrics could be used for a loved one, a family member or just a friend. It is no doubt a nice tune with the refrain of the title setting the mood for reflection which Adele delivers well in her vocal.

The song is tinge with sadness due to her not being able to prevent time from passing and it seems that Adele is struggling to move forward despite times in the past not being perfect but the memory is hard to let go of.

“Remedy” doesn’t come away from this theme with the first lyric being:

“I remember all of the things I wanted to be”

This song is for anyone you have ever loved. Musically it is simple with Adele singing over a piano. Many of the songs on the album are very simple in their production which follows on from the previous album in a lack of change in her musical style. But then if it ain’t broke…

“Water Under The Bridge” is a deceptive title as it indicates that this is about a relationship that has ended yet the chorus is actually the opposite.

If you’re gonna let me down, let me down gently
Don’t pretend that you don’t want me
Our love ain’t water under the bridge

The use of the word “ain’t” changes the tone of the song. Musically the song is very Adele. It follows her usual formula of big drums, big choir like chorus and a sing along hook.

“River Lea” is track 7. This is a real river in London near where Adele grew up as she explains in the first verse. There is nothing interesting from an instrumentation point of view and lyrically Adele is looking back once again at time in her life and it is this river is the connecting factor between things that has happened. The river would have always been nearby when a particular event would take place.

“Love In The Dark” starts off with a by now tiresome piano which Adele sings over. The theme is a relationship that has come to it’s end but I am not sure if it is the same relationship that Adele spoke so freely about on the previous album “21”.

This perhaps is another relationship set after that experience as Adele is the one wanting to do the breaking up as is not too happy being put in the position to have to do so as it seems that the male is happy to carry on as if everything is fine when it is clearly not.

“Million Years Ago” is my favourite song on the set. It’s all about looking back, and it’s an honest look at her life and how it has become.

I love the simple guitar work and the melody. Adele sounds fantastic and the song resonates with me. I relate to this song and where I am in my own life which is odd for a song to be so on point.

The chorus nails that melancholy feeling:

I know I’m not the only one
Who regrets the things they’ve done
Sometimes I just feel it’s only me
Who can’t stand the reflection that they see
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends…”

“All I Ask” was co written with Bruno Mars. It again is formulaic in both instrumentation and theme. Adele singing over a piano is something we have heard so many times and whilst this is a pretty song when you get to track 10 you would hope there would be something else on offer than a ballad about the sadness of losing someone.

The final track on 25 is “Sweetest Devotion”. Melodicly is a little different as Adele sings about someone who I can only presume is her child with lyrics pointing to such a theme.

Like many of the songs on this album they are pleasant and do exactly what Adele wanted to do which is to continue to tell the story that she has been telling since her debut album “19”.

I understand why people dislike Adele as over three albums she has offered the same style of music and lyrics that Adele would even describe as a bit depressing. I admire that she has just continued to tell her story and it is interesting to see where she was and where she has come from.

Her lyrics are honest but to a point. Sometimes you need to look at the way she is singing a particular line to gauge what her true meanings are. Some lyrics are confident and defiant yet she sings as though she is anything but.

The longing for the past surprises me given that is how her present and future which are surely the most positive things about her life. Although her past may not have been perfect and she has the fame and money now it fascinates me that her longing for past times with areas she grew up in and friends she once had are the things she still holds onto.

At the end of “21” with “Someone Like You” the question to be asked was ‘is this woman happy?’. The answer was clearly no but if you ask the question again after this album finishes I believe she would want you to answer yes and in some respects she is happy with her relationship and her child but there is still something missing in her life and I wonder if Adele will ever get to a point where she is truly content.


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