After four years away from the music industry to recover from a vocal chord hemorrhage and have a baby, Adele makes a comeback with her latest album “25.” Officially released on Nov. 20, “25” is a stunning compilation of Adele’s talents, and I fell in love with every aspect of this album. While “25” is very similar to her last album, “21,” Adele’s four-year hiatus was long enough to make her familiar tracks sound just as breathtaking as they were the first time around. To analyze Adele’s long-awaited return to music, here is a track-by-track breakdown of “25.”
Hello. It’s Adele. She was wondering if after all these years you’ve forgotten about her. Because if you have, this record will bring it all back. The only single and first track of the album, “Hello” has broken several records and is the perfect sneak peek to all the amazing talent showcased in “25.” Adele brings back her signature vocal runs and powerful voice even after her long break from the music industry. With the music video receiving the title of most-viewed video in 24 hours, “Hello” has created plenty of buzz about Adele’s return to music. While the song refers to Adele reuniting with an old lover, it is really a comeback song for her fans. Adele is telling the world that she’s back from the other side, and we better pick up the phone.
2. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
After “Hello,” this song has a much more upbeat rhythm but still focuses on an ex-lover. It is the equivalent of her earlier hit “Rumor Has It” but has a grown up feel to it because she has finally forgiven the guy that inspired the heartbreak of her last album, “21.” Songwriter Max Martin, who has written with stars such as Taylor Swift, collaborated with Adele on this song to create one of the most contemporary tracks on the album.
3. “I Miss You”
With racy themes of desire and lust, “I Miss You” strays away from Adele’s typical topics of nostalgia and heartbreak. During her four-year hiatus, Adele met her current boyfriend Simon Konecki, and her love for him shows in this song. Like all other Adele songs, powerful vocals dominate this song, but they are accompanied by tumbling drums and church organs.
4. “When We Were Young”
At the ripe old age of 27, Adele is nostalgic for her younger days on this track. After singing a live version of this song on YouTube before the official album release, Adele stated that she was inspired to write the song by the thought of “seeing everyone that you’ve ever fallen out with, everyone that you’ve ever loved [and] everyone that you’ve never loved.” She reminisced about seeing old lovers and friends and penned “When We Were Young” as a testament to their lost relationships. My favorite song off of this album, “When We Were Young” showcases a stunning high note that had me worrying about Adele having another vocal chord hemorrhage along with meaningful lyrics about seeing old friends that make you feel young.
After welcoming child Angelo in Oct. 2012, Adele created “25” with a maternal perspective her fans have never experienced before. Adele found real, pure love in her child, and it is evident in this song. She sings that in this cruel world she will always be a “remedy” and touches on the absolute love of motherhood for the first time in her singing career.
6. “Water Under the Bridge”
Although stylistically “25” sounds very similar to Adele’s previous albums, thematically this album is very different to the others. Adele has traditionally sung about heartbreak and nostalgia but this album brings in new topics of finding true love and motherhood. Unlike her previous albums, there are no ex-lovers in this song but rather a present lover that she is unsure about. She hopes their love isn’t “water under the bridge” in this upbeat, 80’s style ballad.
7. “River Lea:”
With her trusty church organ, Adele goes back to her roots in this collaboration with Indie singer Danger Mouse. She sings about the real-life River Lea that she grew up with and how her childhood is still with her. “River Lea” is a ghostly arrangement that is haunting and whimsical at the same time.
8. “Love in the Dark”
In another piano ballad, Adele surprisingly enters a breakup song into the mix with “Love in the Dark.” With an obscene amount of strings layered over simple piano chords, Adele uses her voice to break her lover’s heart over the course of this song.
9. “Million Years Ago”
In yet another haunting ballad, this time over guitar, Adele introduces a new topic: the price of fame. She sings about all the things she’s lost by growing up in the unforgiving music industry. Almost painfully slow, this song was not helpful in lifting my mood.
10. “All I Ask”
After the last song, I needed something upbeat to stop the wave of depressing feelings but unfortunately, Adele was feeling so emotional she needed two songs about the same heartbreak. “All I Ask” is yet another ballad, and I could physically feel Adele’s desperation as she belted out the lyrics like a heartbroken Whitney Houston.
11. “Sweetest Devotion”
After a dark, sad period of the album, “Sweetest Devotion” was the spirit-lifting, upbeat song I was waiting for and showcases the best part of Adele’s life: her son. With his voice sampled at the beginning of the song, the rhythmic, country-like beat was the perfect way to wrap up the album.
Adele’s album “25” is available on iTunes for $10.99, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to smile, cry or feel the tender emotions of Adele’s otherwordly voice.