Album Review: Adele Shows Reveals Artistic Identity on "25"

Adele’s new album, 25, was released today. 25 has come out in great anticipation since her last album, 21, is going on five years since its release. Adele took a hiatus from music after her son was born, and she took her time in creating 25 as it bore a lot of meaning in her maturity as an artist and woman since 21. 25 has everything that Adele fans could want – she slows down the music with songs like “Love in the Dark” but also keeps intrigue and tempo in songs such as “Water Under the Bridge.” Her vocal quality is unlike anything on the charts today. That essence of Adele, that tone that can be distinguished from any artist on the radio, is what keeps her fans coming back for more. There are not pop backbeats or distracting effects to take away from the beauty that is Adele’ voice. Her rustic tone is a time machine back to record-player days, and it creates a hollow sound filled with the emotion from the lyrical backstories.

“Million Years Ago” is one notable song from her new album that holds a different flavor than the “Rolling in the Deep” Adele fans are accustomed to. The song is simply her voice and a guitar. The chorus states, “I miss the air, I miss my friends, I miss my mother; I miss it when life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago.” The entire song is very reflective and very nostalgic for a period in her life that was more carefree and fun. This could be in the wake of her intense fame that came with the release of 21 or merely a statement about growing up and missing the innocence of youth. Adele’s voice ranges from extraordinarily low notes to belts like in “Hello.” It is beautifully eerie and makes the listener reflect on his or her own mistakes as the emotion is drawn from the lyrics.

“Water Under the Bridge” is a more fast-paced song that reflects on an old relationship that potentially isn’t over. Adele sings, “If you're gonna let me down, let me down gently, don't pretend that you don't want me. Our love ain't water under the bridge. Say that our love ain't water under the bridge.” The song calls for more urgency, as it’s encouraging for action in order to save the love between the speaker and its intended. The quick beat of the song fits this urgency as opposed to the pure nostalgic reflection of “Million Years Ago.” “Water Under the Bridge” is similar to “Hello,” Adele’s hit single off the album, due to the fact that both contain more energy that reflect the active content of the songs themselves. 

25 is a matured version of Adele as she’s taken an extremely reflective vantage point on her early twenties. The listener can see the time gap between 25 and 21 because the songs on the new album show growth in how she looks at her life emerging into her late twenties. Though all of Adele’s music is emotional, this album is emotional in its pondering and not in a heated manner as she is in her earlier music. Listeners have grown with Adele as she has started a family and begun to enact her future outside of her music career. Her next album, potentially to be created during her early thirties, will continue to show her personal and life changes as she continues to mold her artistic identity.