Adele’s “25” brings a conclusion to heartbreak

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Adele's third album has broken sales records with the help of heavy radio play for its first single "Hello."

By Shannon Gray, Staff Writer

Adele’s newest album, “25” sold 3.38 million units in the first week, breaking the record for opening week album sales in the United States.

With “25,” Adele resists reinventing the wheel as far as who she is as a musician. Rather than scrambling for a new sound and traveling into a creative danger zone of trying to be something that she is not, the 27-year-old musician has produced an album that stays true to her trademark sound.

“25” presents a continuation of the ill-fated love story introduced in Adele’s first album, “19.” While many were anticipating a generic album of sweeping vocals and heart wrenching piano solos, Adele delivers that and so much more.

Adele is the go-to for heartbreak and relationship woes, and “25” takes this through to its conclusion. The first half of the album is familiar in subject matter, but the latter half brings a much needed resolution in that tear-rolling-down-your-cheek-style that is the hallmark of the London-born vocalist.

When your career is based on heartbreak, it can be easy to run into writer’s block. The Adele that the world grew to love through sorrowful songs like “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You” seems to be in a very good place in her life. Now in a publically stable relationship with the father of her 3-year-old son, she would risk invalidating her message if she was to create another “21.” The reason Adele is so relatable is because she doesn’t sing about an idealized love or heartbreak. She sings about her experiences and the the unpredictability of said love and heartbreak.

Adele is a powerhouse vocalist who has made her career on the tears of those who listen to and relate to her music. It would have been easy for her to release an album that was a weak carbon copy of “21” or for her to go in the complete opposite direction and come off as disingenuous.

The album’s first track, “Hello,” brings Adele back into the ear of the public with a familiar formula. The piano-driven ballad features her trademark soaring vocals as she tells the story of beginning the difficult process of closing up the loose ends of the relationship that propelled “21” to diamond status by the RIAA.

Any fears that the 11 songs that comprise “25” would just be rehashing the same issue are put to rest by the second track “Send My Love (To Your New Lover).” Though the subject of moving on isn’t an inherently happy one, this track is just so delightfully pop-py without abandoning the technical and emotional prowess of the songstress. The song, co-written by Swedish music producer Shellback, is somewhat reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together,” which he also produced.

The closing track is perhaps the most un-Adele song on the album but it works magnificently. “Sweetest Devotion” wraps up the album by signifying the end of the difficult journey that has brought her to this point. In it she sings, “I’ve been looking for you baby, in every face that I’ve ever known, and there is something ’bout the way you love me, that finally feels like home.” With these lyrics it seems that Adele has done the impossible: she is a musician with a story people actually care about.

“25” has raised the bar as to just how profound and technically perfect the genre of popular music can be. Note to pop stars like Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor: this is what pop music can and should sound like.

Adele hits the bullseye with the “25.” There is a balance between heartache and how that heartache has allowed her to pursue love and happiness in a way that isn’t sappy but human.

In a sea of saccharine pop, it is refreshing to hear love songs that convey emotions that are often oversimplified by tracks in the top 40.