Adele’s tri­umphant re­turn a sen­ti­men­tal look back

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -

Adele has had nearly five years to sa­vor the mas­sive suc­cess of her last al­bum but, on a release that could be even big­ger, she is look­ing back wist­fully on what once had been. On Adele’s third al­bum “25,” which came out Fri­day, the singer has lit­tle in­ter­est in gloat­ing about fame or ex­per­i­ment­ing in style, in­stead re­turn­ing to the emo­tional depths that have so res­onated with her vast fan base. Adele, her soaring but soul­ful voice possessing the same power, re­traces the mem­o­ries of her work­ing-class child­hood around Lon­don as she re­flects from her new, un­com­fort­able perch.

“I feel like my life is flash­ing by / And all I can do is watch and cry,” she sings to a del­i­cate, Span­ish-tinged gui­tar on “Mil­lion Years Ago.” “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.” Adele’s last al­bum, “21,” was led by the raw in­ti­macy of the heartache song “Some­one Like You.” But the man who broke Adele’s heart-who­ever he was-is long gone, and Adele has since be­come a mother and found new love. Yet ro­man­tic tu­mult clearly still has a hold over Adele. “All I Ask,” one of the most emo­tion­ally sear­ing songs on the al­bum, in­ti­mates at a fu­ture rather than a past breakup. In a boom­ing voice sure to leave many lis­ten­ers in tears or at least with goose bumps, Adele sings over the pi­ano, “All I ask is / If this is my last night with you / Hold me like I’m more than just a friend / Give me a mem­ory I can use ... ‘Cause what if I never love again.”

Great hope for mu­sic in­dus­try Adele-who, de­spite the al­bum’s ti­tle, is 27 — has de­scribed “25” as a look at her life “tee­ter­ing on the edge of be­ing an old ado­les­cent and a fully fledged adult.”

Adele owes her suc­cess in no small part to her un­pre­ten­tious, non-rock star im­age. She is not known to shake her body on stage or trash ho­tel rooms and is mark­ing Fri­day’s release by singing at Joe’s Pub, a cozy club in New York’s Green­wich Vil­lage.

Yet Adele nonethe­less is car­ry­ing the hopes of the mu­sic in­dus­try. “21” was the top-sell­ing al­bum in the United States for two con­sec­u­tive years and, by a com­fort­able mar­gin, the big­gest release in Bri­tain so far this cen­tury. The mu­sic in­dus­try, which has been stag­nant af­ter stem­ming years of heavy losses, be­lieves “25” could be the most suc­cess­ful al­bum in more than a decade. In the United States alone, Adele’s la­bel has shipped 3.6 mil­lion phys­i­cal copies to stores, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try jour­nal Bill­board. The ship­ment num­bers are the high­est since “No Strings At­tached” by boy band NSYNC in 2000, which was the year be­fore Ap­ple’s iTunes shook up the mu­sic busi­ness by main­stream­ing dig­i­tal sales. In a sign of con­fi­dence in “25,” the al­bum will not be avail­able on stream­ing sites such as Spo­tify, making Adele one of the rare artists along with Tay­lor Swift to re­sist the fast-grow­ing sec­tor of on-de­mand on­line mu­sic. “Hello,” the first song on “25,” al­ready broke the record for the big­gest US de­but for a sin­gle since the ad­vent of iTunes.

Mem­o­ries past and fu­ture Like Swift, Adele has stayed at a small in­de­pen­dent la­bel-in Adele’s case, Lon­don-based XL Record­ings-that al­lowed her to keep strong ed­i­to­rial con­trol. Adele in­vari­ably had her pick of the world’s song­writ­ers for such an ea­gerly awaited al­bum.

“All I Ask” was co-writ­ten by an­other star, Bruno Mars. Cana­dian in­die rocker To­bias Jesso Jr is cred­ited on an­other of the more in­tense songs, “When We Were Young,” whose bit­ter­sweet har­monies and backup choir have echoes of 1980s pop hits.

“You look like a movie / You look like a song / My God, this re­minds me / Of when we were young,” Adele sings to chords on a pi­ano once owned by com­poser Philip Glass. Yet how­ever much Adele wants in “25” to re­turn to the world of mem­o­ries, she knows she can­not. On “River Lea,” Adele sees the Greater Lon­don wa­ter­way as a metaphor for child­hood in­se­cu­ri­ties, yet she strug­gles to break free. “I can’t go back,” she sings, “but the reeds are grow­ing out of my fin­ger­tips.” —AFP

Bri­tish singer Adele per­forms on stage at the 85th An­nual Acad­emy Awards in Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia. On Adele’s third al­bum “25,” which came out yes­ter­day, the singer has lit­tle in­ter­est in gloat­ing about fame or ex­per­i­ment­ing in style, in­stead re­turn­ing to the emo­tional depths that have so res­onated with her vast fan base. — AFP

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