So it’s finally here and I’ll go straight to it, as we have a long way to go. I’ll be reviewing each track and rating it over 10. Was ‘25’ really worth the wait? Let’s see.
We all know how I feel about this one (Read HERE), a power ballad that showcases her vocal prowess, but follows the general format with most ballads and comes off as safe.
2) Send My Love (To Your New Lover)
This is as playful as Adele ever gets on 25; it sounds like the makings of a decent and appropriate pop song, produced by hitmaker and Ke$ha-accused rapist, Max Martin. It is a catchy tune and there are slight elements of Katy Perry in it, but it wears thin after several listens.
3) I Miss You
It has a dark and eerie feel and is accompanied by haunting eldritch background vocals. The background vocalists are the icing on the cake in this song and steal the spotlight from Adele, possibly saving the song from sounding typical, especially on the second verse where Adele comes across as bored. Definitely one of the standouts, and it’s bound to get stuck in your head.
4) When We Were Young
I had such high hopes for this song when I heard the live cover but I was surprisingly disappointed after I heard the album version. The album version lacks a few instrumentations that made its live predecessor such a tear jerker, and half way into the second verse, you have to resist the urge to skip the track. I strongly recommended listening to the live version
Things quickly start falling apart here. Adele tries to channel the same emotions as she did in 21‘s Turning Tables in this piano ballad, but she clearly lacks either the inspiration or the aching heart of a broken lover. And so the song comes across as an over-flogged recitation with the piano chords sometimes outracing her vocals.
6) Water Under The Bridge
Things start off promising here with Adele’s voice sounding sultry, accompanied by soothing background vocals. But soon it appears as though the song is heading in no direction and feels more like freestyle. The hook sounds jumbled and convoluted, and for once, it seems like Adele is trying too hard. When the song ends, you are glad it has.
7) River Lea
This song requires patience, as it doesn’t exactly kick off with gusto and Adele begins with a lower register. However it progresses to a grand chorus reminiscent of Rolling In The Deep, and the listener is captivated. But Adele does tend to sound whinny when she keeps singing “River Lea” over and over again.
8) Love In The Dark
It really was a struggle listening to this song. Why? It was boring. Adele commits the ultimate crime here which was to bore her listeners to a near coma. It’s the only Adele song I cannot listen to from start to finish, and anyone who does deserves several medals.
9) Million Years Ago
Adele follows a coma-inducing track with another one, although this one has slight elements of greatness. It’s an acoustic ballad, this time with what sounds like a Spanish guitar. It will definitely leave you yawning and requires such great perseverance to resist the urge to skip to the next track, as Adele sounds completely uninspired.
10) All I Ask
Just when you think it surely can’t get any worse, Adele follows with this track, which really is just a cheesy piano ballad with an ‘80s old school vibe that sounds like it belongs to a melodramatic heartbreak scene in Dallas. Adele sounds uninspired, bored and singing out of routine. It is, dare I say, her worst song.
11) Sweetest Devotion
And right when you have given up on the album, this track comes on and you are reminded why you fell in love with Adele. Finally Adele truly sounds inspired and passionate and has something to sing about. The song is about her son and you feel the love exuding from her as she sings and means every word. Its lyrics are beautiful and powerful and it is Adele at her true form.
Target Exclusive Tracks
12) Can’t Let Go
Adele shows here that she can still make us cry, in this poignant and beautiful ballad akin to 21‘s Take It All. It will give you goose-bumps and leave you teary-eyed; even Adele sounds like she’s about to break down in tears. It was foolish of her not to include this in the standard version of the album as this would’ve been a clear stand out.
13) Lay Me Down
With this song, you begin to wonder why Adele left all the good stuff for Target. It sounds like a 60s Motown song and has elements of Rolling In The Deep. In Lay Me Down, Adele pleads with passion and the listener is instantly taken to church. You lift your handkerchief up and begin to speak in tongues as tears roll down your cheeks.
14) Why Do You Love Me?
Well, this song sounds like a typical bonus track. In essence, it’s just subpar filler and sounds more like a demo, but it’s still better than some of the tracks on the standard version.
Is 25 a good album? Well yes, it’s definitely not bad, but it clearly lacks the raw emotion that was evident in both 19 and 21, and it is Adele’s weakest effort. Adele’s greatness is unleashed when she sings about what she really wants to, not what she has to, and 25 feels like an album made out of actual routine than a real desire to create.
Verdict: 3 stars.
Written by Chizzie