If any artist was going to steal the limelight from the return of Justin Bieber, it had to be Adele. No one else could inspire the same kind of obscene clamorous fervour that “Hello” has left the
Internet reeling from, as it broke all of the records known to man. There hasn’t even been a sufficient replacement for Adele in the same way it could be argued there has been for Bieber. Sam Smith was perhaps the best comparison and challenger for her throne, but his claim lies in tatters after the release of “25”, an absolute titan of modern pop.
The singles “Hello” and “While We Were Young” were already burned into the public consciousness, both intelligent and emotional insights into a past relationship. Instrumentally it’s exactly what you’d expect from Adele, nothing short of flawless vocals and imposing, melancholy orchestral arrangements. Subtle differences can be heard in the form of modern percussion patterns on the former. “I Miss You” and “Remedy” fit this description also, and could be described as somewhat formulaic, with the latter actually being dangerously close to the kind of bland ballad the Script could turn out after the lazy ten minute brainstorm I imagine constitutes their song writing sessions.
Deviation can be found on the oddly upbeat “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, which may be my highlight of the album. The sleek acoustic guitar gives this song a more accessible edge and intrinsic groove that could benefit Adele’s music to no end. The chorus bursts into life with and instantly memorable and catchy melody, making this song fairly distinct. The maturity on display can be seen in the lyrics, “We both know we ain’t kids no more”. It’s a theme that puts “25” at an instant advantage over the often self-pitying and stalker-like “21”. The acoustic guitar is the main focus again on the stylish Mediterranean “Million Years Ago”, a song that shows that Adele writes better Bond themes than Sam Smith even when she’s not trying to. The closing track “Sweetest Devotion” showcases Adele’s vocals in their purest form. Often strained, but always astounding, the album finishes on a driving and uplifting piece of flawless soul, and truly cements Adele’s place as one of the great talents of the modern music scene, if it wasn’t already clear.
“25” dwarfs “21”, both in observant maturity and instrumental grandeur. The singles are phenomenal, the deeper cuts are extremely interesting, and almost everything on this album is a testament to Adele’s new found sophistication and talent. I recommend purchasing this album on CD. It’s not like you can stream it anyway.