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Album Review: Adele’s “25”

Article by: Jessica Gorrell

Adele_-_25_(Official_Album_Cover)November 20th, 2015 – It feels as though a full lifetime has passed since Adele released the pivotal album containing the anthem of heartbroken lovers everywhere – in many ways, it has. Adele Adkins, just 27 years old, became a mother. A whole generation graduated into another part of their life (high school to college, for me in particular.)  For those who shared in Adele’s heartache with a separation of their own, time seemed to heal those old wounds and now we’re left with dull, fading scars – that was, until, this morning when Columbia Records released the newest installment to Adele’s discography: 25.

Listening to 25 is strange in a very beautiful way; it brings you back to that broken time where all you could do was play “Someone Like You” on repeat until you couldn’t cry any longer. With 25, you experience it all over again, but with a very different feeling. Unlike 21, this album is more of a melancholic healer than a painful reminder. This album will, in a very despondent way, build up the ruins of your once broken inner goddesses.

With her impressive vocal range, Adele’s 25 is a rollercoaster of emotion, taking us to an empowering high through Adele’s gigantic voice, driving us back into the deepest depths of that chilling vibe we first heard on 21 just four years ago, and then up again through her more uplifting tracks.

This manic euphoria begins with “Hello” which has remained on Billboard’s #1 spot every week since it came out earlier this month, and for a good reason. This strong opening ballad, with it’s moving lyrics and heart-wrenching tone, set the mood for the rest of the album. That is, until the very next track, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” has a playful chorus with a serious message: “Send my love to your new lover / treat her better / we gotta let go of all our ghosts / we both know we ain’t kids no more.”

“I Miss You” is one of those unnerving tracks that simultaneously empowers and beguiles, only to be followed up by “When We Were Young” which shows Adele’s old soul and the realistic revelation of aging. “Oh we were sad of getting old / it made us restless / oh I’m so mad I’m getting old / it makes me reckless.” Giving voice to the exact feelings of what it’s like to get older has never been easier.

The transition from melancholic reminiscing to empowerment and self-awareness is most prominent as the album progresses into tracks like “Remedy,” “Water Under The Bridge,” and “ River Lea.”

The album continues down that same emotional rollercoaster, veering a bit back towards that feeling of that void left after the final breath of a dying relationship with “Love In The Dark,” which is powered by a pulsing yet melodic piano chord progression with the accompanying of a soft, lilting string section.

“Million Years Ago” takes on the sadness, not of a lost love, but rather the yearning of a distant childhood. Adele croons alongside a softly plucked guitar about that innocence experienced before life became, well, life. “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 / all I can do is watch and cry.” This bleak reminder about how quickly life passes is followed by the slightly more hopeful tracks of “All I Ask” and “Sweetest Devotion,” which, in truth, seem more of a promise of self-love and rebuilding of the self than the asking of assurance from a lover.

All in all, 25 is the perfect mix of moving, empowering and nostalgic. It serves as a sweet reminder of what once was, but what, sadly, will also never be again. It rebuilds the broken hearts that were created by 21, and it gives us another round of inspiring tunes to relate to in our times of emotional need.

Track Listing:

1. Hello                                                            7. River Lea
2.  Send My Love (To Your New Lover)   8. Love in the Dark
3. I Miss You                                                  9. Million Years Ago
4. When We Were Young                            10. All I Ask
5. Remedy                                                       11. Sweetest Devotion
6. What Under the Bridge

Jessica Gorrell

An obsession with all things related to music lead Jessica to study professional writing at the University of Massachusetts in Boston in order to pursue her dream of becoming a leading journalist on the music scene. When she’s not busy writing prose or scouring the city for new acts, she likes to relax and play her guitar or shamelessly binge watch a TV show she’s discovered.

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