Adele’s ’25’: Nostalgic nirvana

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“I make records, not singles,” Adele explained on Nov. 23’s episode of The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and with each record comes a long-awaited collection of memories and wisdom from the British singer and songwriter. A few days before “25”’s Nov. 20 release, Adele released a live version of “When We Were Young” on YouTube. At the end of the performance she candidly laughed at herself as she puts the microphone back on its stand with a theatrical flourish, “I’ve never done that in my life,” she said, “It’s a whole new me!” And “25” is just that. A new Adele. She’s back.

The contents of the new record expose an array of emotions. Despite popular assertions, Adele’s music is much more dimensional than the simplistic reputation popularly assigned to it. Her songs are not simply break-up songs or love songs.  On social media, users have posted photos of displays of tissues strategically placed next to copies of the new album for sale at Target, but the word “sad” isn’t much of an adjective to assign “25”. Adele’s music strikes several other chords that are not so stereotypically classified. The music of “25” is direct and fearless as it captures a multitude of insights about various emotions, including even triumphant ones.  Adele seems to have come to terms with a lot in these past four years and now the time has come for her to be completely unapologetic for what she needs to say.

Arguably the best track of the album, “When We Were Young” coaxes listeners into a limbo between the past and reality. Adele presents without deviation the frustration in longing for a time when we were able to purely say what was on our minds and wouldn’t allow any type of fear or history hold us back. The passage of time changes us, but there’s always a certain person who will make your heart skip a beat and will make you remember a span of time where you felt invincible together, before things became complicated.

“When We Were Young” and “Hello”, whose music video was released October 22 with currently 453 million views, twist your heart of course, but other tracks like “Remedy” and “All I Ask” offer a flexible poignancy. Many of the tracks can be applied to an array of situations, all depending on how the listener chooses to interpret the lyrics and mood.  Additionally, upbeat songs of the record, like “River Lea” and “Water Under the Bridge,” are reminiscent of the style of Florence Welch with strong rhythms and reclaiming lyrics.

In “Water Under the Bridge” Adele tells it like it is: Maybe what we had together is gone, but I know you’re in still in love with me and I need you to admit it, because I’ve had enough of this bullshit. Her boldness captures and exposes the rawness in moments of realizations like these – moments of meeting on the other side, being restless and reckless, promising to be someone’s remedy, telling someone to stop the charades, and making memories during that final night together when the world is about to tear you apart.

Saying “hello from the other side”, Adele proved to her fans that, whatever we have been through, we will also make it to the other side. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow, but someday, and meanwhile, despite everything, we deserve to face our lives with the intrepid clarity that her music encourages. A comeback like Adele’s deserves much recognition this awards season, and no doubt she will take home numerous titles in 2016.