Well Adele Adkins has come a long way from those 19 days when her tunes first attracted attention. Debut album 19 featured a handful of great songs – Daydreamer, Chasing Pavements, Melt My Heart To Stone and the beautiful Dylan cover Make You Feel My Love. With her breakthrough album 21, that power house voice in conjunction with teary broken heart lyrics managed to connect with a global audience.
She’s now released her much anticipated third album 25 at the grand old age of 27. Of course talk is now about the record-breaking success of 25, currently smashing them left, right and centre. According to Nielsen data 25 has sold 3.38 million copies in the first week. It is also already the biggest selling album in the US this year, overtaking Taylor Swift‘s 1989. Not bad for one week’s worth of sales. The first single Hello has had an eye watering 543,300,519 views on You Tube as of this morning.
25 is atypical in that there are no streaming options. So you can listen to the single Hello on Spotify but no other tracks from 25. Likewise no album on Apple Music. That means you must purchase the album if you want to hear it. An artist with her pulling power can follow this release strategy but it’s doubtful that many can pull off this old school way of doing business. Wildly popular artists such as Adele don’t come along that often with a fan base that covers all ages, and the gap between albums was enough to make people interested in what she had to offer. However it will be interesting to see if other big name artists start following this lead.
So what does the new album sound like? Hello is not a favourite for me, it’s too overblown and a little screechy for my tastes. But you know it’s so huge that I’m obviously in the minority on that one. There are some lovely songs on the album but if you’re looking for quirky or off beat this isn’t going to be for you. Instead there are solid mainstream songs of cherished times and past loves. So yes the usual album fodder for Adele. 25 is super solid though and each track has something to say and overall it’s a much stronger offer than her two previous albums. 21 had the career changing Someone Like You but overall is more patchy than 25.
My favourite tracks on 25 are When We Were Young, a Tobias Jesso Jr. penned power ballad that should be another hit. Remedy is a piano number that reminds me of her 19 days. Million Years Ago is an acoustic, heartfelt paean to earlier times while All I Ask has Bruno Mars written all over it (literally) about a last night with a lover.
Here’s a clip from Graham Norton that features Adele (here she’s Jenny accompanied by a fake nose and chin) with a bunch of other Adele wannabes. Love it when the penny drops that Jenny is the real Adele.