- Record of the Year, "Hello"
- - Album of the Year
- - Song of the Year, "Hello"
- - Best Pop Solo Performance, "Hello"
- - Best Pop Vocal Album
- - Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, "Million Years Ago," "Water Under the Bridge," "Hello," and "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"
Oh come on, who didn't see all of those nominations coming? This is Adele we're talking about. Beloved, pined for, finally back Adele.
I think I like her trend of numbering the albums by her age, showing personal growth through the times (if we really need to derive meaning from the titles). This one comes after a baby and lots of time off. The last go-around was every girl's heartbreak record, but Adal describes this one as a "make-up record." She notes that it's more about nostalgia and looking back and regret. She also worked with a lot of new collaborators and critics did note the different sound she seemed to go with this time around.
We start with the acclaimed "Hello" that brought Adele back into the public spotlight. This seems to me to bridge the old and new Adele sound, with the start being so solemn and classic vocally for her, but launching into this much harder and intense song wiht more full backing. I will admit I didn't really love this at first - it's hard to relate to personally when you're not at that place in your life. But there are lines that tug at the heartstrings, easily, somehow.
I know concept albums are unheard of these days, but this one already seems to be telling a full story. We move from the introduction of where we're at to "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" - she's on the other side, and wishing him well. Or, at least, that's where I'm at here. So then, is "I Miss You" the re-longing for that person? In it's simplest terms, sure. It sounds like torture. And this is all sounding like my oen experiences at 25. Damn it Adele. Damn it. Musically, we are definitely getting more of the pre-described 'more rhythmic' sound we were told about. See how I changed the subject there?
"When We Were Young" is one of the most heartbreaking songs I've ever experienced (duh, look at the artist), yet it's almost as equally happy. It's got that acceptance tone, and while she did mention regret was the basis for a lot of these, I don't hear that quite as much. But leave it to the interpreter I suppose. I mean, how sad to think this would be the last time, but how sweet to remember on.
If you were looking for that classic Adele sound, "Remedy" is going to be your jam. Piano, deep vocals, and longing upon longing upon longing. It's tragically beautiful. But she only gives you that classic breath for a moment - "Water Under The Bridge" picks up the pace considerably. This is kind of amazing actually. I didn't know her voice could do this kind of more upbeat music (don't stone me - I didn't totally doubt it), and it's fun while meaning something.
"River Lea" has me just a little confused, and I think it's because here we go a little wonky with the reverb. I only need so much mystique to these vocals, and this is just slightly too much. I could let this grow on me, but right now it's just kind of the meh track in the middle. But then we launch into the incredibly depressing "Love In The Dark." Maybe there might be a sense of saving yourself, but when you end with the line "you can't save me," it takes a lot of hope to believe that.
We go very internal with "Million Years Ago." A Spanish guitar seems to be the base backing, giving the song a really unqieu sound. Adele sings out a lot of reminiscing lines, remembering people and times that hav elong since escaped her life. You came here to cry? Oh, great, got it.
"All I Ask" is probably equally sad, but the driving piano gives it some kind fo hope and upswing. She's fully aware that the goodbye is coming, but making it a good goodbye. Kind of brings "When We Were Young" back into perspective, if you're approaching it all that way. Oh check out that key change too! Well that was an interesting addition. And just enough of the normal that we're ready for an adnormal tune to end things with, "Sweetest Devotion." Maybe we've found that sweet ending make-up she mentioned before we started? The vibe is definitely a happier, accepting one. It's actually quite a gorgeous flourish of music to end on.
- "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"
- "I Miss You"
- "When We Were Young"
- "Water Under The Bridge"
- "Love In The Dark"
- "Sweetest Devotion"
I won't say I've out-grown Adele by any means, but the beauty of music is that we can have our own, personal reflections on it and take away meanings that perhaps no one else does. So for many, this could be another sad Adele album, but my perspective squews the songs to work for my own needs. And that has actually made this experience all the greater.
The music on this show growth and desire to expand as an artist for Adele. While maybe it's not what everyone was expecting or necessarily what everyone wanted, Adele has proven to be nothing less than a true artist, always creating and feeling.