Fresh from winning an Oscar and scoring three US #1 hits off sophomore masterpiece 21, Tottenham Hotspur fan Adele is back, older (you can tell from the album title) but not necessarily wiser, dropping her new album 25 just in time for Christmas.
(Song titles in caps)
Triple-crown holder HELLO is a stunning piece of dramatic soul pop, replete with a baroque epitasis and a delicious nod to Mamas &c’s oeuvre.
Max Martin chips in on obligatory break-up irregular beat ditty SEND MY LOVE (TO YOUR NEW LOVER), a quivering ode to growin’ up cum movin’ on.
Production adept Paul Epworth plays a synthetic tribal drum while attenuated call and response echoes accompany the nigrescent I MISS YOU.
Blue eyed soul apogee WHEN WE WERE YOUNG recalls Whitney’s heights to the point even Patrick Bateman pauses an evisceration to shed a tear.
OneRepublic songwriting panacea Ryan Tedder lends a pen but not even he can cure REMEDY, which is diseased by unnecessary off-key flourishes.
Yes! WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE! This is more like it! Perfect for wise sages who Rolling In The Deep > Set Fire To The Rain > Someone Like You.
Deep bass and Danger Mouse’s complex percussive extrusions save the protean RIVER LEA (it’s in Luton) from otherwise hookless vanillaism.
You wouldn’t accuse her of peripeteia: LOVE IN THE DARK is another slow-burning dirge barely memorable but for some midpoint piano yammering.
Maudlin Judy Collins inspired MILLION YEARS AGO is a pared back folk-soul number that really gets the job done simply through simplicity.
ALL I ASK is a pleasant minor key demonstration of Adele’s vocal if not emotional range, coscribed by unlikely Hottest 100 star Bruno Mars.
Optimistic coda SWEETEST DEVOTION is an explosion from the frozen emotions of its mostly bland antecedents. Also some really clever rhymes.