Saturday, November 21, 2015

Adele 25

The new Adele album was released on Friday, November 20th. It is titled 25 which is in keeping with her two previous albums, 19 and 21. They are named after her approximate age when the albums are started. Adele is now 27 at the time of this release. Her full name is Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, although I've never heard anyone refer to her that way. 

Her first album was a breakout work which brought her to the world stage. Adele 19 went double platinum in the US and contained the hit single Chasing Pavement. It sold seven million copies worldwide. Pretty impressive for a first album by an unknown. Adele and the album were nominated for four Grammy's and won two. She was just getting started. Adele 21 far exceeded 19. It has sold over 30 million copies worldwide and produced three #1 songs in the US. She won six Grammy's in 2011 and one in 2012 based on the album, She also won a Grammy and Oscar in 2013 for the title song for the James Bond movie Skyfall.

Adele 25 contains a single released last month, Hello, that has already reached #1 and sold over a million copies in the first week. It is an excellent song. Now the rest of the album is out. There are 11 songs on the album. I saw or read that Target has an exclusive CD with three bonus tracks. 

So, does 25 live up to expectations? First impression is that it is a solid album. It runs a little over 48 minutes. Adele co-wrote all 11 tracks. The first thought that came to me was that this album has more production than the previous two. Kind of like Adele's new look has more production and effort. There is only one acoustical track with just a guitar and her voice. That's not necessarily a bad thing. After her success, she has access to better producers, equipment, studios and money. Second impression is that there aren't as many hits as were on 21 and overall it is not as strong of an album. It would be tough to duplicate or exceed the success of 21. As I mentioned, the first single release, Hello, is a solid hit already. It is also a very good song. 

I was a little surprised that most of the songs are still about love lost. I expected at least some happier songs since Adele has become a mother since her last album. Some of the song titles prove my point; 
"Send My Love (To Your New Lover)", "I Miss You", "Water Under the Bridge", "Million Years Ago".
Not exactly cheery subjects. 

There are also a couple of tracks that fit into the style of many of today's young female singers. They have a pop sound with a dance friendly beat. The difference is that Adele is a far better singer than 99.9% of those others. She also writes better lyrics. 

Track 1 - Hello is a solid Adele ballad and already a #1 single.
Track 2 - Send My Love (To Your New Lover) is a pop song in the vein of Katy Perry, et al.
Track 3 - I Miss You is almost dominated by the drums. It too has a contemporary pop sound.
Track 4 - When We Were Young gets back to a simple ballad with mainly just piano accompaniment. Soaring Adele vocals. This is a possible single candidate.
Track 5 - Remedy continues the piano ballad theme. 
Track 6 - Water Under The Bridge also has a strong drum and pop vibe. 
Track 7 - River Lea more drums but a much more somber song
Track 8 - Love In The Dark  is another piano ballad but with a more elaborate orchestral arrangement.
Track 9 - Million Years Ago is mostly an acoustical guitar and Adele. Very simple.
Track 10 - All I Ask goes back to the piano, this time with minimal backup.
Track 11 - Sweetest Devotion wraps up the album with a full orchestra and backup singers.

I like the album. It has a few different sounds and, of course, Adele is a fantastic singer. It will be interesting to see how many singles it produces and how successful it ultimately is. 

I recommend it. I pre-ordered it for $9.99, I think it is $10.99 now. It may be worth checking out Target if you are interested in the bonus tracks. One twist to this album is that it is not available on the various streaming services so you won't be able to hear it with a subscription, ie rent it. You'll have to either buy the CD or a digital copy, at least for now.

This one gets a solid A grade. 

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