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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Adele sets fire to the rain with new LP


    The cover art for Adele’s new album, 25.

    In 2011, London singer-songwriter Adele seemingly came out of nowhere with her massively successful, Grammy-winning release, 21. Loaded with melancholic, incredibly emotional and sometimes empowering breakup tunes, 21 ruled the airwaves and charts for many months, and sold over 30 million copies. After 21’s release, the singer seemed to drop off the face of the earth for four years. Adele is back, though; on Nov. 20 she released the LP 25 on iTunes, hoping to reignite her success and take a different lyrical direction.

    Immediately, Adele makes it clear she doesn’t want this to be a depressing, slow breakup record. 

    “My last record was a break-up record, and if I had to label this one I’d call it a make-up record,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I’m making up with myself.” 

    This is as evident as ever with the leading single and first song on the album, “Hello.” Instrumentally, it is similar to 21 ― a simple, slow, emotional, piano-backed song, rising toward the end. The vocals, however, while they are moving, are not about heartbreak ― at least on Adele’s end. The song is about being sorry, wanting to see somebody who she had previously hurt, trying to get in touch with them and ultimately failing. It is a very well-arranged, powerful song, and Adele shows off her ability to evoke emotions within her listeners. It is the classic Adele formula at work, and while it’s a very good leading song, it does not set the tone for the album.

    The next song, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” builds the theme of forgiveness, with Adele talking about both herself and her former lover letting go of their relationship’s ghosts. It is a surprisingly energetic, uplifting song for Adele; a poppy beat and acoustic guitar replace her usual soulful piano riffs. 

    The next track, “I Miss You,” is an intimate, drum-backed song. Adele recalls fond memories of her former lover and longs for him. “When We Were Young” follows in those footsteps, Adele again remembers her past lover, comparing their way of communicating to that of a movie. 

    Adele proves she is a solid lyricist, even after her bout with writer’s block following 21’s release. She shows she’s not a one-trick pony and can write songs that aren’t just about heartbreak. Her songs about forgiveness and memories are just as strong as her signature breakup ballads from 21. Adele powerfully offers her help and hope to a lover who is suffering through “Remedy.” 

    In the next two songs, “Water Under the Bridge” and “River Lea,” the pop singer semi-reveals the classic and sentimental Adele we all know and love. She sings about wanting to rekindle a relationship with an ex-lover, about forgiveness and lost love. On both tracks, Adele continues to display her moving voice, channeling her emotions very nicely through her music. Her voice simply booms on this album. 

    “Love in the Dark” takes a turn from the album’s recurring theme of forgiveness. Adele tells an old lover to stay away. Its backing vocals on the chorus make this track (probably) the most moving song on the album. Adele returns to her bread and butter with this slow piano tune. On every track here, her vocals are front and center. 

    The album spectacularly concludes with “Sweetest Devotion,” a guitar ballad that explodes on the chorus. It is an outstanding song that puts end to the incredible effort by Adele. 

    On this record, Adele makes it absolutely clear that she hasn’t lost her magic. She is just as capable, if not more capable, of producing awe-inspiring, moving tracks just like she did with 21. Her voice shines brilliantly and displays her impressive range — as if she had to prove this even during her musical hiatus. Her new album, 25, leaves listeners fulfilled and reassured that Adele is without a doubt among the most talented singers of our time. 

    Rating: A

    Follow Paul Barlyn on Twitter.

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