Adele: 25 (XL) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dec 07, 2015 Adele Bookmark and Share

Adele draws droves of music lovers with her ballads, and her latest single, “Hello,” is even more magnetic than her ubiquitous 2011 hit “Someone Like You.” Indeed, the British pop-soul queen’s latest plaintive chart topperwhich serves as the opening track for her third album, 25has a chorus that soars higher, lyrics of dashed love that dig deeper, and a production quality that’s infinitely more textured than the deliberately sparse piano accompaniment of “Someone Like You.”

In fact, nearly everything about 25 seems to operate on a grander scale than anything in this still young artist’s catalogue. There’s the typhoon drums of “I Miss You,” the angel-wing flutter of the string section in “Love in the Dark,” and the moaning gospel choir on “Sweetest Devotion.” Best of all: the scratchy hip-hop style percussion of “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” which is the catchiest and most upbeat track on the album. Throughout these towering production flourishes, Adele’s vocals cast an even vaster shadow: swooping, swerving, blaring brassily and cooing tenderly, a full orchestra unto itself that’s theatrical, unpredictable, and dynamic. Her voice is as big as her album sales, her career trajectory, and her potential to be the biggest star of her generation, and she uses its every facet like a virtuoso playing their instrument to the limit.

But despite how far she’s able to carry those notes, and how far she has come as a commercial artist, Adele hasn’t forgotten what got her here. Whenever 25‘s grand gestures threaten to border on grandeur, the singer slips a gentle throwback into the mix. On “Million Years Ago,” she’s accompanied by only an acoustic guitar, in the same way that she introduced herself to the world with “Daydreamer,” the opening track of her comparatively tiny debut album 19. And 25‘s midway track, “When We Were Young,” features needle point piano notes that harken back to “Someone Like You.” By daring to go bigand remembering when to keep things smallAdele has recorded the most assured mainstream pop record of the year. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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