Review: Does Adele’s 25 really live up to the hype?

Adele’s long-awaited 3rd studio effort, 25, leaked online Wednesday morning. An album expected to sell up to 2.5 million copies in its’ first week in the US alone would also be expected to deliver outstanding quality material. And Adele has lived up to that standard with her previous work, with her debut album, 19, and the incredibly successful follow-up, 21. But did she uphold her “legend” status with this album? Did it live up to the seemingly endless charade of praise from the general public? Or is the general public just seemingly impressed easily?

You’re going to buy it. It’s going to top Billboard’s Hot 200 for the next year, and it’s all you’ll be hearing about for the next couple of months. You’re going to love it. Or will you?

The chart-topping #1 hit “Hello” serves as an outstanding album opener. A track I initially hated, Hello is new and refreshing; although it’s not unlike much of Adele’s earlier work. The ballad, co-written by Greg Kurstin, is an emotional masterpiece, worthy of more than a few nods from the Grammy’s. Send My Love (To Your New Lover) is quite the opposite. Inspired by Max Martin‘s production on Taylor Swift‘s I Knew You Were Trouble, this track has a very reggae/funk vibe. The chorus on this one will forever be stuck in your head. Described by some as a “break-up song without the bitterness”, it’s a side of Adele we’ve never seen. That being said, it’s not necessarily a game changer, or anything to “write home about”. It’s a cute little track. “I’ve forgiven it all, you’ve set me free“, Adele sings. This trend of subtle pop seems to carry on into “Water Under the Bridge“, another track with a massive chorus, and this another track co-written with Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, P!nk). An electronic blues collaboration with Danger Mouse, entitled “River Lea” serves as the most interesting collaboration on the record. “Consider this my apology years in advance but I’d rather say it now in case I never get the chance“, Adele sings as this ballad about her childhood activities morphs into a gospel-esque production. 25 has its’ fair share of album fillers (Million Years Ago, Remedy), and even a little something directly reminiscent of her earlier work (Love in the Dark), but it seems to lack the direction of it’s predecessor, 21. Some tracks seem to feature almost awkward sampling and elements not usually suitable for Adele’s musical realm. But this in itself shows musical growth and maturity, and as someone who is quite bored of Adele’s music in general, I welcome this change with open arms. An album that features hints of electronica, country, a Flamenco style guitar strum, a ballad co-written by Bruno Mars and Max Martin production seems very foreign to Adele. Humans naturally don’t like change, but they’ll mostly likely be pleased by this.

So to answer the question asked in the title: yes, Adele’s 25 does live up to the hype. Prepare to hear every song from this album on the radio for months to come. Well, that statement begs the question: will it have the longevity and overall success of Adele’s previous album? Only time can tell.

Key Tracks: River Lea, Send My Love (To Your New Lover)

25 is expected to be available on iTunes worldwide beginning 20 November.

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Written by CelebMix