Adele: 25 album review

For many people, bookmarks are essential to remember a point of reference in regards to something of great importance.  For some it's books.  Some people see tattoos as great bookmarks of life events that helped shape the person to who they are in the present moment.  For British singer Adele, music is her bookmark.  

Born in London on May 5, 1988, Adele's musical roots began at the age of four singing around the house.  Adele has always cited The Spice Girls as a source of inspiration for her growing love of music.  Her mother introduced her to the likes of Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah to name a few.  As her teenage years came around she discovered the music greats Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald who would greatly help shape how she approached her own singing (I'd be remiss if I didn't mention her undying love of Spice Girls and how they influenced her as well).  Adele was also influenced by Amy Winehouse and her guitar playing which inspired Adele to pick up the guitar herself.

Adele attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts & Technology (fellow singers Leona Lewis and Jessie J were her classmates) and graduated in 2006.  Not long after graduating she recorded a demo tape.  One of Adele's friends secretly put one of the demos on MySpace which caught the attention of the head of XL Recordings.  Not long after this she acquired a manager and signed to XL in 2006.  Adele's first breakthrough song happened to be the first song she ever wrote two years prior titled "Hometown Glory".

Initially being billed as an acoustic act, Adele would headline shows and began to make a name for herself with her insanely brilliant voice (you don't need me to tell you how great of a singer she is).  The lead single for her 2008 debut album "19" was "Chasing Pavements".  Released two weeks before the album, the world began to take notice that a talent that comes around once in a great while was beginning to rise and shine bright.  The album's title is in reference to the age she wrote most of the album's twelve songs.  "19" was deeply rooted in soul, heartbreak and raw emotion that deeply resounded with listeners and music critics.  "19" would go on to sell over seven million copies in the US alone and be certified seven times platinum in the UK and double platinum in the US.

Three years later Adele would conquer the music world again with sheer determination.  Released in early 2011, "21" took the music world by storm debuting #1 in more than 30 countries.  In the UK "21" became the best selling album of the 21st century as well as the fourth best selling album of all time.   As if that wasn't impressive enough Adele stayed on the UK music charts for an astounding 23 week period and 24 weeks in the United States, making Adele one the longest chart holders by a female artist in the entire history of the Billboard 200 chart.  To add to that list of achievements "21" was certified Diamond in the US (10+ million copies sold) and has become one of the best selling albums in the States.  To say that's impressive is a serious understatement.

"21" was deeply rooted in soul, R&B and funk.  Songs like "Rolling in the Deep", "Set Fire to the Rain, "Rumour Has It" and "Someone Like You" have become iconic songs in this decade.  4 years after the album's release you STILL hear these songs not just because they're catchy, but because there's heart and soul behind this collective of songs.  Many of the songs themes revolve around heartbreak, regret, forgiving and our own perception of ourselves.  Themes like these all of us can relate to.  "21" holds a special place in my heart and I'm not ashamed to admit that.

The success of "21" soon followed with the chance of a lifetime in 2012 to compose and sing the title track for the James Bond movie "Skyfall".   Adele was knee deep in being involved with nearly every aspect of the song's inception making sure the song was worthy of being included in the film as well as standing aside past James Bond compositions while maintaining it's own sense of uniqueness.  Sure enough, that is just what happened.  Recorded at the famous Abbey Road Studios over the course of a few months to get everything right, "Skyfall" became an instant hit.  The song would later win the Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, among other awards.  "Skyfall" is the first James Bond song to sell well over one million digital copies.  

After the tremendous commercial and critical whirlwind around "21" and "Skyfall" Adele decided to take a step back and live a little bit before she would record her third album.  During this time she and her boyfriend welcomed a son in 2012 and settled into a mansion in the English countryside.  Despite taking a break Adele would always write, even when she was dealing with a bout of writer's block.  Her son would later prove to be a source of inspiration that would break her writer's block and soon the songs were beginning to take form. 

"25" is a breath of fresh air.  We see a wiser Adele who isn't afraid to take on new song styles or structures.  "Hello" is classic Adele (can we say classic now?  oh well I'm using it anyway).  "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" has a very M.I.A. vibe to it that's catchy as hell.  "I Miss You" has been used as a song title for many artists and bands but Adele takes that title and makes it her own.  "I love the way your body moves towards me from across the room, brushing past my every groove.  No one has me like you do." We all can relate to these lyrics.  To say I miss you is one thing, to FEEL it and have it reflected through song is something profound.  

"When We Were Young" WILL go down as one of Adele's greatest songs.  Lyrics reflecting lost love, fears and wondering if they still feel something for the other.  Adele delivers this with such a tremendous vocal performance that DEMANDS your attention.  The notes she hits reflect the lyrics and the meaning behind them.  You feel it all.  Embrace it, cry if you have to.  You're human!  "Remedy" touches on the every day struggles we all face and that at the end of the day we have someone to pick us up if life knocked us down.  Love is a true remedy.  

"Water Under the Bridge" further shows Adele's venture into different sounds and it pays off.  "River Lea" is in reference to  Adele's upbringing and how this place is a part of her youth that continues through adulthood.  "Love in the Dark" hit my heart.  It plays out like a climatic scene in a romantic movie.  It feels and sounds cinematic.  "Million Years Ago" deals with life, looking back and the regrets we carry.  "Deep down I must have always known that this would be inevitable to earn my stripes I'd have to pay and bear my soul."  Deep, I know.  

I could go on forever about how great "25" is and how much of a welcome addition it is to Adele's growing reputation as one of the greatest singer/songwriters around.  The years between releases are worth it.  Great music takes time to craft and stand the test of time.  "25" has something to offer for everyone.  I'm a die-hard Adele fan and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  This will go down as one of the great albums of the decade and deserves all the awards it gets.  Thank you for making me feel feelings Adele.  Are you still reading this?  GET OUT AND PICK UP THIS MASTERPIECE!!!

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