Four years after “21”, Adele released her highly anticipated third studio album, traditionally titled “25”. Perhaps as expected, the album completely broke the Internet. Hours after the release of the album’s first single “Hello”, parodies, memes and word jokes appeared – with Ellen Degeneres’ spoof of both Adele’s and Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” combined with Drake “Hotline Bling”.
“25” opens up with the song we can’t get out of heads for the last few weeks: the bombastic and dramatic “Hello”. It’s the perfect album opener, because it lets the world, not too subtly, know that Adele is back. Besides carrying that message, the song also sets expectations for the rest of album. Expectations that, unfortunately, are not met throughout “25”.
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is more jazzy, consisting out of a subtle and playful guitar, and Adele’s striking voice. It’s very different from what you expect from an Adele song and thereby, not the best song of the album. Nevertheless, it’s a catchy variation from the piano ballads that form the vast majority of “25”. The same goes for “River Lea”, which might be the next single, due to its catchy chorus and rhythm.
Although “I Miss You” channels the sentiment of Adele’s trademark ballads, the track is more experimental, with a strong rhythm, soft backing vocals and Adele’s elusive voice as its core. The album’s second single, “When We Were Young” follows this pattern, nevertheless, it’s a very piano-driven track. The chorus is haunting and fragile, with her backing vocals repeating “when we were young”, haunted by nostalgia.
The least interesting track of the album is “Remedy”, an attempt to keep things simple – but the results is too simplistic. Although the track adheres to the same characteristics as songs like “Turning Tables” and “Hometown”, “Remedy” lacks originality and a spark that makes it an interesting listen. The same goes for “Million Years Ago”, in which Adele’s confession-like vocals are accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. For both songs, it feels like they are demo versions of songs that could have been grand and epic. They feel like a missed opportunity.
“Water Under The Bridge” is an entirely different story, as the song is very poppy and catchy, with a multi-vocal chorus that gets stuck into your head after one single listen.
Fans of Adele’s earlier work – the more emotionally loaded, piano-driven ballads – will definitely appreciate “Love In The Dark”. It echoes with nostalgia; a tender love story transformed into a beautiful ballad, with soft piano tunes and the surprising element of plucking strings.
“25” is an album carried by Adele’s striking vocals, which sends shivers down your spine even after all the “Hello” spoofs. The album is full of nostalgia and dreams of lost love, which is very similar to both “19” and “21”. However, “25” feels more grown-up, less girly and more womanly. Although the album features some missed opportunities, songs like “River Lea” and “Love In The Dark” hit straight in the bull’s eye.