It’s finally here! The long awaited third album from the English sensation Adele was released on Friday and it seems her fans are not disappointed. In an interesting move, the singer has decided not to release her new album on streaming services, so if you want the album you’ll have to buy it from iTunes or from your local music store. If you liked her previous albums, I assure you that spending the money will be worth it.
After listening to the album a few times, it’s safe to say the single Hello is as good as it gets. This is no negative criticism, it’s hard to top a perfect song. The album is good, it’s just not great. For instance, Send My Love (To Your New Lover) brought harmonies into the chorus too soon, and River Lea began with too obviously computerised sounds. Of course Adele’s intonation and vocal versatility were flawless but I would have preferred if she had used more light and shade. In most of her songs it just sounded like she started at ten and had nowhere to go.
I Miss You employed some really interesting echo effects that made me picture an eerie underwater scenery, but again light and shade wasn’t used until the third verse. In When We Were Young, River Lea and Million Years Ago showed off the talented singer’s lower range, which was great to hear and sets this album apart from her last.
Water Under the Bridge made use of some great musical techniques like clapping sounds that promote audience participation, a clever choice by the singer and her production team. Love in the Dark used changing rhythms and some really interesting chords, but was still a bit of a forgettable song. My two favourite tracks, Remedy and Million Years Ago, stripped Adele’s sound back to just her and a piano or guitar which was really great to hear (I would have been disappointed if this wasn’t included).
Probably the most honest and moving track on the album is All I Ask. Although the main piano motif is quite a common one that I’ve heard many times, Adele’s vocals are soft and fragile and the third verse has some surprising chords that lead to a key change. Also the way the song ends, especially the last two notes are what really makes it stellar. The album ends with Sweetest Devotion, a waltz with a strong and catchy chorus that sounds like it should be a gospel song.
Even though I have my criticisms of this album, I cannot deny how fantastic most of the songwriting and producing is. For this reason, I’m giving it 9/10.