Adele’s latest album lacks fire

Tyler Mead, Print Arcade Editor

Stock up on tissues and delete your ex’s number (yeah, that one) because Adele is back.

Considering that Adele has racked up a total of 10 Grammys in the past six years, dominates the radio and is generally loved by people with ears, there’s hardly anyone who hasn’t been awaiting her third album, “25.” While Adele’s enormous vocal talent will never be questioned, the lyrics and overall tone of “25” leave something to be desired. Her latest album lacks the kind of anger and fire that made songs like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Set Fire to the Rain” such smash hits.

The album opens with “Hello,” which destroyed Taylor Swift’s VEVO record, racking up 23.2 million views in just over a day. The song announced the coming of “25” and brought the same powerhouse vocals and melancholy vibe that audience have come to expect. It’s followed by one of the bubbliest songs Adele has ever released, “Send My Love.” The beat and lyrics actually sound like they belong on a Sara Bareilles track.

“When We Were Young” comes two later, after the forgettable “I Miss You,” and has the potential of songs like “Someone Like You.” This track hits the peak of Adele’s cry-worthy meter, and tells the story of her final goodbye to a former lover.

“Remedy” and “Water Under the Bridge” follow. “Water Under the Bridge” is significantly faster, but both give off the same sad lonely vibe. Now halfway through the album, it’s a little hard to maintain interest. There’s no heat to these, nor the following four tracks. No indication of Adele feeling better, or even a glimpse of happiness. The single tone of the album actually takes away from it. Had these songs been interspersed with some more upbeat tracks like “Send My Love,” the album would have been more balanced and more compelling.

The saving grace of the second half of “25” is the closer, “Sweetest Devotion.” Adele took a note from Beyoncé and wrote her strongest song on the album about her child. Now 27, Adele is still a fairly young mother, but there’s a raw exposure of the love she feels for her kid in the lyrics. It opens with faded sounds of her child’s voice, and includes lines like, “there is something about the way you love me that finally feels like home” coupled with the chorus, “the sweetest devotion hitting me like an explosion” get belted out in an anthemic style that Adele first demanded our attention with.

Adele’s vocals and brilliant writing make any track she does worth listening to, but the overall downtrodden nature of “25” makes it hard for a single sitting. With only two uplifting tracks, and no scorn to break up the monogamy it doesn’t quite stack up to her past works. That being said, if all music was judged by that standard little would hold up. “25” is good for a cry (and a long one since the songs average around four minutes) and will be welcomed by any Adele fan.

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