Adele's third album, "25," releases on November 20. It's her follow-up to the massive critical, commercial and awards success of "21" in 2011. Will she resume her pop music dominance where she left off?
"21" became one of the biggest hits of the 21st century, winning seven Grammys over two years, including Album of the Year, selling 30 million copies worldwide and being certified 11-times platinum in the US. She followed that up with the title song from the James Bond spy thriller "Skyfall," which won her an Oscar.
That's quite a lot to live up to. Does her new album rise to the occasion? As of this writing, "25" has a score of 73 on MetaCritic. That doesn't sound very high, but remember that "21" only scored 76 on MetaCritic when it was released in February 2011; critics didn't jump on the bandwagon until after the album became a cultural sensation. Consider that Rolling Stone magazine only gave "21" three-and-a-half stars out of five upon its release, but then named it the best album of the year months later.
Read a sampling of the reviews for "25" below, then make sure to join the Adele discussion in our forums.
Neil McCormick (The Telegraph): The first thing to say is I don’t think anyone will be disappointed. Covering much of the same kind of musical and emotional terrain, "25" is certainly the equal of its predecessor. What it sacrifices in youthful rawness it makes up in maturity and sheer class. Adele Adkins has taken her time over her third album and it shows.
Jon Caramanica (The New York Times): On songs like "I Miss You" and "Water Under the Bridge," she renders the most acute pain with severe clarity and composure. If her singing wasn't so loud, it would be tranquil. In places, on "Hello" and "Million Years Ago," so total is her chill that she recalls a far less technically accomplished but even more steadfastly serene singer: Lana Del Rey.
Sarah Rodman (Boston Globe): That anticipation is richly rewarded by the sublime “25.” The album kicks off with first single “Hello” – a bit of windswept, skyscraping, rainy-day grandeur – and lingers in the neighborhood of that contemplative mood for much of the album’s duration. Recorded in London, Los Angeles, New York, and Stockholm with a variety of simpatico co-writers and producers — including Max Martin & Shellback, Ryan Tedder, Greg Kurstin, and Danger Mouse — “25” mulls love, loss, and lust. Spoiler alert: There will be tears.
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Photos: Adele. Credit: Brian J. Ritchie/Hotsauce/REX