The British singer/songwriter’s new LP, released tomorrow (November 20) is the most anticipated recorded music release for years.
As such, what the critics make of it may be largely immaterial. The music business will certainly be hoping it sells by the shedload either way.
(Columbia is looking confident: the record’s US label, licensed by XL/Beggars, has apparently shipped 3.6m copies into retail in the States ahead of release.)
But here’s something it’s always worth knowing… is it any good?
This is what the first professional reviewers have to say:
The Guardian gives 25 three stars out of five, with Petridis admitting that just because some tracks aren’t his cup of tea, “no-one who buys it is going to angrily return it to the shop because it wasn’t what they expected”.
He comments that the tone of the album still seems like a heartbreak record: “Five years on [from 21], Adele is still, metaphorically speaking, planted on her ex’s lawn at 3am, tearfully lobbing her shoes at his bedroom window.”
Petridis says that the best tracks include acoustic number Million Years Ago which “recalls in equal parts Charles Aznavour’s Heir Encore and the old Theme From Mash, Suicide Is Painless”.
He also says Adele’s two collaborations with longstanding producer Paul Epworth are “great”, particularly I Miss You, which he says is lifted by “vaguely dubstepish vocal samples”.
The Telegraph is more fulsome in its praise. Neil McCormick gives the album the full five stars.
“Covering much of the same kind of musical and emotional terrain, 25 is certainly the equal of its predecessor,” he writes.
“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.”
For McCormick, who says ‘pop doesn’t come more perfect than this’, the highlight is River Lea, which he calls “a blast of North London gospel that improbably locates the source of Adele’s musical soul in the waters of Chingford, Walthamstow and Tottenham”.
Jon Caramanica in The New York Times is generally positive about the record. Although there’s no star rating, he comments that the album ranges from “phenomenal to tepid”.
One standout for the critic is All I Ask, produced by the Smeezingtons, and co-written by Adele with Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence and Christopher (Brody) Brown.
“It’s a Streisandian tale full of harrowing, exquisite loneliness,” writes Caramanica.
This review also contains one of the best corrections ever:
Elsewhere, NME gives the record 3/5, calling it “disappointingly safe”.
The Independent’s Andy Gill awards 25 the same score, commenting that the album “leaves things sounding a little too much like they had been designed by committee”.
The Line Of Best Fit is more generous, with an 8/10 review.
Writes Paul Bridgewater: “There’s a very good record in here, propped up by a some incredible modern classics (“Hello”, “Remedy”, “When Were Young”, “Love in the Dark”).
“While it never really gels musically in quite the way you want it to – something that can also be said for 19 and 21 – it still has Adele at the heart of everything.”Music Business Worldwide