Now Even Saving Country Music Is Talking About Adele’s “25”
If country music doesn’t have Adele envy, it should.
When former “country” artist Taylor Swift sold 1.287 million copies of her record 1989 on its debut week, it was a feat not matched since 2002. With streaming, the disillusion with the album concept, and the general implosion of the music industry, we all thought we would never see a similar feat ever again. And Adele right now is on pace to sell over double the first week sales of Taylor Swift’s 1989, or roughly 2.5 million copies.
That’s the power of music and song. Don’t let anyone tell you music doesn’t have value, or characterize that the public believes that in total. CD’s are not just plastic, and vinyl is not just a hipster craze. And it’s not just audiophiles who believe this. Many listeners believe in the power and value of music. There’s just no music worth spending their money on, and no artists left who can unite the listenership en masse. The era when the top tier of popular music regardless of genre resonated throughout the population and brought together listeners because of the incredible showcase of talent and artistry is a thing of the past. The numbers put up by Taylor Swift, and now Adele are not just exposing the strength of these artists, it’s exposing that the public is willing to pay for music. They just don’t believe there’s anything worth paying for.
Take out your musical chemistry kit, blast this record with protons, break it down to its most basic components, and there’s not a whole lot here. There’s a song, a voice, a piano, some percussion, maybe some organ and guitar you barely even notice, and that’s about it. Even the cover is just a close up of Adele. The artwork inside is simple still shots from the studio. Done. Package it up, and hope you make enough copies to fill demand. And in some locations, they didn’t.
The title of this album is for Adele’s age when she wrote this material, but I’m not sure I believe that. Adele is timeless, and ageless. She could be forty, or she could be from the 40’s. In the end it doesn’t really matter what her age is, because she’s flies above trend and defies taste. She’s a mother, yet still in many ways a child. She was born in 1988, which is astonishing to accept as she steps out onto the stage with such command, like the entirety of musical history is present in her lungs, imbibing her music with the depths of wisdom from a life long lived. How freshman a song like Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” sounds besides Adele’s “Hello.” Taylor Swift symbolizes the here and now, which can be quite alluring and potent to the public. Adele symbolizes all that has ever been, and all that will ever be in music, careless of trend, universal in topic, and resonant to the point where it might be the one thing in a discordant society that can build anything resembling consensus around.
Adele’s 25 is no masterpiece. Some moments are sleepy, others feel forced. How the hell the terrible bubblegum pop producers Max Martin and Shellback made their way on this track list is an abomination. Luckily, the pair of Swedish producers are only credited on one song. It’s warming to think perhaps they worked on an entire album’s worth of material before Adele saw the forest for the trees, and told Max Martin and Shellback to go back to sequencing Top 40 hits for boy bands. The last thing Adele needs is names preceding hers. I half suspect the one track the collaboration yielded was just so these two musical cancers could weasel their names on what they knew might be the album of the century. And as you would expect, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is the worst track on this record, with the two producers absconding with songwriting credits for ruining Adele’s melody and replacing it with this acrobatic vocal levity that lacks any idea of decorum.
Many of the later tracks on 25 tend to bog down just a little bit, but overall this material is stellar. “Hello” is every bit of the timeless, “song of a generation” it will soon become, and the power of Adele’s voice in the song is what secured such an incredible sales feat for this record upon its debut. Clear the galley and just let the woman sing. “When We Were Young,” which appears to be groomed for the second single from the album, is worthy of following up the weight of “Home.” The “less is more” doctrine is what works best for Adele, and the simple “Remedy” is a song that it would be criminal to look past, despite it featuring just Adele and piano.
But I’m not sure even “Home” can match the bite of “River Lea.” As much of a Queen Bee as Adele appears to be when she takes center stage, you still have to appreciate she hasn’t seen 27 Christmas seasons. Yet she is very cognizant of who she is, her flaws, and her misdirections.
Everybody tells me it’s ’bout time that I moved on
And I need to learn to lighten up and learn how to be young
But my heart is a valley, it’s so shallow and man made
I’m scared to death if I let you in that you’ll see I’m just a fake
Sometimes I feel lonely in the arms of your touch
But I know that’s just me cause nothing ever is enough
When I was a child I grew up by the River Lea
There was something in the water, now that something’s in me
Oh I can’t go back, but the reeves are growing out of my fingertips
I can’t go back to the river
But it’s in my roots, in my veins
It’s in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain
So I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea
If there was a country song on 25, it would be this one. You can’t go wrong with a river song, and one about your roots. And by the way, Adele didn’t write “River Lea” in a committee, nor did she solicit song publishers from around the country and world to procure the material for this record. 25 is all her, with some simple co-writes extended to the producers on the tracks as appears to be the modern custom of today. Only “All I Ask” finds a notable plurality of contributors, including Bruno Mars, and stands in the pool of the album’s weakest tracks. The less Adele you get, the weaker a song becomes. And vice versa.
Adele won’t define a generation, she will defy all of them. Chatter about how she’s such a great role model because of her conservative dress, and how she’s an inspiring story for body image proponents seems like careless, superfluous chatter while in Adele’s court, even if it’s true. Who would question Adele’s beauty and mystique? She leads from within.
Adele’s 25 might not be your style of music, and that’s perfectly understandable. But what it symbolizes beyond the songs themselves is that the power of music is still alive. Country fans, heavy metal fans, fans of preserving music in public schools, they should all stand up and cheer the unification of the populous around an artist of great substance and timeless appeal, and one of the best singers ever to walk the earth.
Adele’s 25 isn’t just a victory for Adele. It’s a victory for music.
1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up (8/10)
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P.S. Adele also can say she was on the Chris Stapleton bandwagon way before everyone else since covered his song “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” on 2011’s ’21’ bonus edition.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:05 am
Well said Trigger. I think we are seeing proof now that fans do value music even though the record labels want everyone to think otherwise. Prior to the last month or so, I’d say that was shown more by concert sales than record sales. Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell have been selling out shows like crazy. Their fans also buy the albums. Chris Stapleton’s run of sales after the CMAs should have been enough to show that people will pay for good music.
I think record labels haven’t figured out yet that their formula for major albums don’t work. They still think they can push a couple singles and fill the rest of the album with fluff. Those albums don’t sell. The numbers get padded by sales of single tracks.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:13 am
Say what you want, but 1989 is way better than this snoze fest.
Adele is the classic singer who’s all voice and little else. Her songs are the same on every album.
Taylor may have a weak voice, but she’s an artist and 1989 is great. Just listen to CLEAN, it’s better than all Adele’s songs combined.
But of course the haters here on SCM will never admit that.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:46 am
Well, haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:47 am
November 23, 2015 @ 10:59 am
Yeah they can keep hating as far as I’m concerned. But there’s no denying songs like Clean, Style, Wonderland, New Romantics and This Love are way better than these dull ballads.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:04 am
What do you mean “there’s no denying”? That’s merely your opinion. People can deny all they want. There is no official statement floating around out there that “1989” is better than “25”, just like there’s nothing floating around that “25” is better than “1989”.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:09 am
Well, there’s no official statement floating around out there that Ernest Tubb is better than FGL, but he is.
November 23, 2015 @ 8:45 pm
Well there are ways to quatify what music is better. I know it’s been done. But voice alone pushes Adele ahead of Taylor for me. Because singing is what singing is about and Taylor COULD take voice training lessons but she doesn’t, she let’s the producers run over her vocals with auto-tune. Also Taylor doesn’t even have the odd distinctive not great voice like Tom Waits or Cohen or and lacks any distinctive phrasing one would find in a voice like Carole King’s, Laura Nyro, or Sarah Vaughn and I don’t care how good the song may be if the person singing it has no “voice” in all the senses of the word I can’t listen to it outside of a dance club floor.
I’m not an Adele fanatic but she does fall heavily into the realm of not just somebody who can sing but some body who can SANG.
But opinions aside if we go by the public’s reaction they seem to prefer at least in sales numbers Adele’s album over Taylor’s album and I imagine it’s because her lyrics are more mature and well she can sang. So the music doesn’t come off as appealing just to teenagers. It has a wider reach.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:19 pm
Trigger made a joke!
November 27, 2015 @ 3:44 pm
I’ll drink to that!
November 23, 2015 @ 11:18 am
Nice straw man argument. As strange as it may be, even THAT is an opinion. Of course there’s a popular consensus that he’s better than them (which I agree with), but again, there’s no 100% verified statement that says that. My point was that you can’t use your personal opinion to try and make something concrete. There’s going to be people who like “25” better, and people who like “1989” better. End of story.
On a separate note, I personally feel no need to compare the two.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:32 am
I’d pick Adele and Taylor Swift both over the vast majority of what gets played on pop top 40. I heard something on the radio called “Hotline Bling” and wondered who in the blue hell would want to listen to such dreck (pun intended) ? Of course, it’ll be just my luck that someone here loves that song and will condemn me to rot in hell for that comment 🙂
November 25, 2015 @ 10:20 am
People like Adele and Taylor for different reasons.
They listen to Adele because of her voice. She really has an incredible voice, and it does have a timeless quality. It doesn’t matter if the albums sound the same; people don’t care.
In contrast to Adele, Taylor has a limited voice–she almost always stays within the same octave. She can modulate it well to evoke different moods, but it’s still pretty thin. She also gets tired much more easily than artists like Adele–you can tell that her voice sounds much weaker at the end of live performances than at the beginning. But people don’t care. They don’t buy TS music because she has a great voice, but because of her talent for writing lyrics, great hooks, because they like her image, etc. TS is also great at creating different sounds–“Enchanted,” “Dear John,” “Haunted,” “The Moment I Knew,” “State of Grace,” “Treacherous,” “Clean,” “Should have said no” are songs that sound very different from each other but are nonetheless evocative; they effectively create a mood.
November 25, 2015 @ 11:28 am
Saying that Adele’s music all sounds the same is like saying all classic country sounds the same. To a certain extent, that’s a fair argument, but fundamentally, it’s doesn’t mean the music is bad. When you tap into something that is brilliant and resonant, there’s no need to fiddle with it. In my opinion, that’s one of the issues with Swift. She tried to fix something that wasn’t necessarily broken just to be different.
November 25, 2015 @ 11:47 am
Didn’t mean to sound harsh; I like Adele and bought her latest album (like many other people…). Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that she has a very consistent sound, and people buy her music because they love her voice.
Adele’s music has an “old soul” character to it. “Skyfall” was especially impressive; it really evoked the classic Bond songs of old. It really epitomizes the Bond franchise. It they were smart, they would just sign a long term contract. The theme song for Spectre was awful in comparison…
Like TS, Adele is adept and connecting with fans and using clever ploys to generate buzz. For instance, the use of a flip phone in the “Hello” music video generated an incredible amount of commentary. (Apparently, using a flip phone is super retro. Who would have thought! My, how quickly the times change.)
November 25, 2015 @ 12:04 pm
I didn’t think you were being harsh at all. I was sort of agreeing with you, and riffing off your observations in the context of the argument against Adele due to her consistency.
November 25, 2015 @ 12:04 pm
Adele’s “trademark” is her voice, which is probably why she sticks to the same sound.
TS’s selling point, in contrast, is her ability to write good lyrics, strong hooks, and evoke a mood, so she’s less tied to any particular genre. In fact, one could argue that it makes sense for her to switch around to keep interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if she returns to country music when she gets older; country music and good lyrics go well together. In fact, as you’ve pointed out elsewhere, it’s quite common for older pop stars to “go country.”
Although their sound is different, both Adele and TS are similar in many respects. They’re both very retro, and somewhat conservative in their sensibilities, if not in their politics (in stark contrast to people like Miley Cyrus). TS’s latest music video for “Wildest Dreams” evokes the the glamour of late-1940s cinema. Lana del Rey is also on the retro bandwagon. Adele’s retro is different–perhaps film noir?
November 27, 2015 @ 3:29 pm
I disagree entirely that one of Taylor’s selling points is “good lyrics”. She’s a very clunky lyricist who tends to spell everything out while telling very simple stories, rather than using figurative language. The main reason she exploded with teenage girls is the fact that her lyrics were very personal, which contrasts starkly with the vast majority of pop singers who, frankly, don’t actually write their own music. The biggest issue I have with her after she “switched” to pop music (well, aside from the incredibly generic production) is the shift in her lyrics from personal and clunky (well, and overly wordy) to generic and repetitive (compare the chorus of “Speak Now” to basically every song on 1989).
November 23, 2015 @ 10:27 am
That is so true that there is very little music worth paying for. I can think of a small handful from the past year.
Adele has always been a guilty pleasure for me. Loved the first two. This one, however, seems like a snoozer. I have not been able to get into it. The songs don’t jump out. Maybe it is a grower.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:37 am
Given how hyper-competitive Taylor Swift is, I bet this leads her to step up her game and make her next release more substantial.
Cool Lester Smooth
November 23, 2015 @ 10:55 am
Here’s hoping. I like Swift more than just about everybody here, but 1989 (and the 1989 half of Red) sucked, with only a couple of exceptions.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:40 am
It didn’t surprise me when I open SCM today and see that Trigger reviewed this album, because just yesterday I was watching SNL and heard “Hello” all the way through for the first time, and thought, “That’s a country song.” Lyrically, anyway.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:45 am
You have to stop being so dismissive of Max Martin. Although it may not be to your tastes the music that he has made has defined the modern pop landscape and has provided lots of people like me some moments of great joy. It diminishes your credibility as a critic that you cant at least show him some respect, even if you would never choose to listen to his music.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:54 am
First off it’s not “his” music. It’s Adele’s music. It’s Taylor Swift’s music. He just comes in, wanks with the melody and production, cuts out verses to double up on a catchy chorus, and absconds with 1/3rd of the songwriting credits.
How’s that for being dismissive?
I’m not saying Max Martin can’t be a part of a good song. A couple of the songs on “1989” were not too bad, and I was surprised they were Max Martin tracks. But I could tell immediately “Send My Love” on this record was Max Martin’s handiwork. The song isn’t terrible, but the chorus is so contrived like Max Martin does.
It’s good to know I actually had some credibility to lose. I just call ’em like I see ’em.
November 27, 2015 @ 10:19 am
That is your perception of what he does as it fits your convenient narrative but it is clearly not based in any fact or research unless you have spent a lot of time hiding in the corners of recording studios while Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys and Pink and Kelly Clarkson and Adele were making their albums. You can complain that a writer and producer who primarily works outside the country genre is participating in a Taylor Swift release but you cannot argue that the man has not written more hit songs then all but 2 other people in the history of music. You can also are free to not enjoy the music that he makes but you cannot discount it. There is a place for everything in music and Max Martin brings a lot of joy to a lot of people. It is possible to like “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Since U Been Gone” at the same time. Please consider that your ears are not the only ones on the planet.
November 27, 2015 @ 10:55 am
I’m a critic, man. This is what I do. And when ever has commercial acceptable dubbed as a measurement for quality? I see the fact that one man is behind so many hits as a problem, not justification. I don’t hate Max Martin on a personal level. But when I listen to a Taylor Swift song, I want to hear Taylor Swift. When I listen to an Adele song, I want to hear Adele. I don’t want to hear the clear signs and signifiers of Max Martin’s presence regardless of the name of the artist I’m supposed to be listening to. Variety is the spice of life, and one man pulling the majority of the strings is never good.
November 29, 2015 @ 6:17 pm
Im a woman. And you must really hate Clive Davis, Rick Rubin, Phil Spector, Quincy Jones, Dr Dre, Timbaland…….
It is ok for you to not enjoy the sound but do not lie about the role of Max Martin in his work. That is not being a critic that is being a liar and seeing conspiracy theories where they dont exist. Educate yourself. And then have an opinion.
November 29, 2015 @ 8:09 pm
I don’t “hate” anybody. I don’t even hate Max Martin. I hate what he’s done to music, but if he had a dead battery, I’d dig out my jumper cables. I really don’t think any of those dudes you mentioned are anything special. Even Rick Rubin is incredibly hit and miss.
Who is drawing more extremes at this point, you or I? I’m just giving my opinions, which is my job. If you disagree with them, then I respect that. But that doesn’t make me a “liar.” If Max Martin wasn’t messing with these songs, he wouldn’t be credited as a songwriter, along with a producer.
F Minor to C
November 23, 2015 @ 10:53 am
CMT Pure has been running the video for Hello, so it seems she qualifies as country now, too.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:56 am
This isn’t country and shouldn’t be considered country. But great artists can transcend genre, not by making mongrel songs full of disparate influences smashed together in the name of “evolution,” but by bringing music back to its root building blocks and make it simply about a song and a voice. That’s what Adele does.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:00 am
Meh. As I said in my comment on your review of Taylor Swift’s 1989, I just don’t get the appeal of Adele. At least not the appeal that warrants 2.5 million units in a single week. Biggest release going back to 2002? Try all-time. The first week sales record is held by *NSYNC’s album No Strings Attached from 2000, and industry analysts have attributed that little number to the numerous release date delays and monster hit single “Bye Bye Bye.” Yet, the 1990s boyband craze is typically looked back on with cringes or nostalgia, not much else. Music worth paying for? I beg to differ.
It’s not my place to choose what is and isn’t worthy of attention in the mainstream, nor do I ever want to have such a job. I think it has less to do with quality than trends; as you say, this is perhaps the most stripped-down pop to grace the airwaves in years, if not decades. I don’t think it has as much to do with the perceived quality as it does that people are yearning for something real to latch onto. 25 is the Red Headed Stranger of its era: a subtle album that breaks the bank. No matter how many people might enjoy dropping the bass, there’ll always be something more to latch onto in a uniquely human performance. I think Adele could sing Florida Georgia Line’s lyrics with her own arrangement style and vocals and it would still sell like sliced bread. Hell, if only something like this would happen again in country music and we’d see an overnight change. Maybe. Probably not.
If anything, Adele’s success is just a perfect storm: the modern music scene is steadily removing the human element from a medium created by and for humans. Fans and artists alike may be unaware, but deep down they yearn for something personal, something real. Adele waited four years and basically released the exact same album she did twice before: stripped down love and loss songs in which her voice soars. If this had come out in 2012 instead of this year, I doubt it would have done quite as well.
Unfortunately, the more connected and the more disparate the consumption of music becomes, the less the record industry seems to know what it’s doing. They don’t learn from mistakes like they seemed to used to, or follow trends in quite the SAME way. These days, anything that cuts against the grain is treated like an anomaly instead of what people actually want overall. Oh look, I’m contradicting myself.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:13 am
Yeah, I was following you until your statements began to contradict themselves. Of course there’s much better music out there than this, and you’re probably right if it came out in 2012, it wouldn’t sell as many copies. But it didn’t. It is a sign that organic music can make a massive impact. I think this bodes well for all organic music. You add Cris Stapleton’s wins on top of that, and good music is on a winning streak. Now we just got to get the music that’s even better to come out on top, and perhaps the masses at large will start to severely question what they’ve been fed for the last dozen years.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:24 am
Eh, sorry about that. I see it from both sides of the fence, and my cynicism keeps me from buying into the success story like I might want to. I was also trying to inject a hint of irony into it, which didn’t go all that well after it was said and done. That’s what I get for trying to be clever.
I wasn’t so much trying to knock Adele nor your points as I am just spitballing. I think this album IS an anomaly in terms of success, but the actual reasons for that success are not hard to understand, if that makes sense. It’s an anomaly that doesn’t deserve to be one, if you will. Or at least that’s my opinion. For what it’s worth, I actually think “Hello” is a great, if somewhat kitschy, song. She’s not bad as much as she represents one of those artists that has an appeal I’ve yet to tap into, or understand (as I said). Great voice, but I think great female voices are fairly easy to come by (anyone that might take offense at that idea, please forgive me). Subtle arrangements and relatable themes, but they’re only distinctive because there’s a dearth of such material in the mainstream these days. What are we left with? She’s unique because everything else is in la-la land, not because she necessarily does anything that hasn’t been done before. If Clint were here he might call it the Sturgill Simpson Effect or something. On the other end of the spectrum, I like some artists that my friends and family don’t seem to get, so I suppose it’s all relative…
If none of that makes sense either, I guess there’s a reason you’re running this site instead of me. I just need another cup of coffee so my eyes will quit rolling back into my skull.
November 23, 2015 @ 3:39 pm
“Meh. As I said in my comment on your review of Taylor Swift”™s 1989, I just don”™t get the appeal of Adele. At least not the appeal that warrants 2.5 million units in a single week. Biggest release going back to 2002? Try all-time. The first week sales record is held by *NSYNC”™s album No Strings Attached from 2000, and industry analysts have attributed that little number to the numerous release date delays and monster hit single “Bye Bye Bye.” Yet, the 1990s boyband craze is typically looked back on with cringes or nostalgia, not much else. Music worth paying for? I beg to differ.
It”™s not my place to choose what is and isn”™t worthy of attention in the mainstream, nor do I ever want to have such a job. I think it has less to do with quality than trends; as you say, this is perhaps the most stripped-down pop to grace the airwaves in years, if not decades. I don”™t think it has as much to do with the perceived quality as it does that people are yearning for something real to latch onto. 25 is the Red Headed Stranger of its era: a subtle album that breaks the bank. No matter how many people might enjoy dropping the bass, there”™ll always be something more to latch onto in a uniquely human performance. I think Adele could sing Florida Georgia Line”™s lyrics with her own arrangement style and vocals and it would still sell like sliced bread. Hell, if only something like this would happen again in country music and we”™d see an overnight change. Maybe. Probably not.
If anything, Adele”™s success is just a perfect storm: the modern music scene is steadily removing the human element from a medium created by and for humans. Fans and artists alike may be unaware, but deep down they yearn for something personal, something real. Adele waited four years and basically released the exact same album she did twice before: stripped down love and loss songs in which her voice soars. ……………”
RIGHT ON !
November 23, 2015 @ 8:51 pm
Also at back then it was well know girls bought more than one copy of “No Strings Attached” (I knew somebody that bought 6) so that certainly helped the numbers.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:01 am
The Thanksgiving Saturday Night Live skit about “Hello” this weekend was pure gold, and right on. Google it if you haven’t seen it. Great music brings us together when nothing else can…well, and football.
November 23, 2015 @ 1:13 pm
Haha, loved that sketch. 🙂 Although I ended up liking Adele’s second number (“When We Were Young”) even more than “Hello,” I’d say that was a pretty effective use of that song.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:13 am
I’m gonna come from a different angle for this record. I like Adele. The good songs are really good, but songs I don’t like, I really don’t like. I think this record is selling so well for two reasons. 1. Strong lead single, 2, her two previous albums were good. She has a pretty good built in fan base. I think she’s a talent for the ages, and will continue to have a successful career, but this is 1 gun up for me.
November 23, 2015 @ 11:50 am
Not my cup of tea, but Hello is one big ass ballad, and who doesn’t love that? (see 0:56)
November 23, 2015 @ 12:00 pm
She needs to make a country record. It would be better than the one Timberlake is making. Maybe it can show Music Row the value of substance, show them how misguided this notion of “evolution” is, and make them finally get rid of all this Bro-Country and Metro-Bro $hit.
November 23, 2015 @ 2:26 pm
What’s surprising is that Kelly Clarkson was quoted saying, prior to the release of “25” in the late summer, that she had heard Adele’s output at the time in the studio and it was decidedly more country.
Yet, this album has less of the distinctive gospel and swampy blues that influenced some of “21”.
We know for sure that Adele has listened to country beyond just cutting a Chris Stapleton-penned track. When touring “19” across the United States, her and her bus driver regularly took cigarette breaks and listened to country music (not to be confused with the radio, most was reportedly traditional-leaning, even though she is also a big Lady Antebellum fan) and that influenced part of the direction of “21” including two of its singles (“Rolling in the Deep”, “Rumour Has It”). So we know she is certainly exposed more to authentic country music as of late than most genre A and B-listers.
My guess as to why those influences didn’t register on “25” is because this roster of established pop producers wanted to make their mark on the credits that they had a higher priority. Or the material Kelly was referring to came from her discarded motherhood album.
November 23, 2015 @ 3:40 pm
There’s been some chatter about an entire album or albums(s) worth of material being recorded and potentially scrapped ahead of this release, and that would correspond with the amount of time it took to bring this record to market. Who knows what is sitting on the shelf and may come to light in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if Adele makes a country-leaning record in the future. But after such a long wait, I didn’t expect her to go off the page with this one.
They’re now estimating upwards of 2.9 million in sales. Just like with Swift, these things tend to trend higher and higher as everyone hears the buzz and wants to get in on it.
November 24, 2015 @ 8:05 am
She mentioned on The Tonight Show that she had an album (or at least a handful of songs) that she played for Rick Rubin and her manager. She scrapped it after their feedback.
My favorite part of her interview was when Fallon asked her if she was going to keep playing different songs each time she appeared on a show. She said that she most likely would and followed it with, “I make records. I don’t really want to be about singles.”
November 23, 2015 @ 12:17 pm
Those lyrics you posted make me think that they are inbetween Taylor Swift’s immature and average songwriting and the mature lyrics of the great Jamie Lin Wilson.
Adele is a great artist overall, nice voice and I like how she respects music.
November 23, 2015 @ 1:34 pm
Adele and Meghan Trainor share many facial characteristics, IMO. Just a thought.
As for Adele’s music, I liked “Set Fire to the Rain” but never listened to much else.
November 23, 2015 @ 1:50 pm
“She”™s a mother, yet still in many ways a child.”
Showing your age, Trigger? 😉
Regarding Adele’s output, her songwriting is consistently beautiful and the music in her songs is always tasteful. She is likely the best major singer-songwriter in pop right now, especially given that Taylor Swift has taken herself out of the competition by deliberately lowering her own quality of writing. The one issue that I have is her vocal style, which tends to endow her songs with an unnecessarily high level of darkness.
Overall, I certainly hope that this album hits it big next year. I absolutely second Smokey’s comment in that I also hope that it inspires Taylor Swift to start writing to her fullest abilities again.
November 23, 2015 @ 2:30 pm
Mark my words: “25” WILL dominate the major awards shows in 2016-2017.
I also think the only thing potentially keeping “25” from producing as many as four #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits is the fact most everyone is already buying the album and won’t have any incentive to buy the singles or stream them. But I think Adele will at least produce another #1 with “When We Were Young”, and at least go Top Five at both radio and the main charts with “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” and “Remedy”.
November 23, 2015 @ 1:52 pm
See? I told everyone earlier this year that when Adele chose to come back, she was going to not only dominate commercially, but artists and entertainers of other genres will want to emulate her and open the door to greater substance in result…………thereby making mainstream country better too.
Chris Stapleton is already inspiring this within the genre, but Adele will take the urgency to a fever pitch.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
November 23, 2015 @ 2:11 pm
Not being a big fan of either Adele or Taylor Swift, I’m not going to go into comparisons of their relative merit. I don’t have a well-formed opinion on the subject, and I think it’s not the point of the article anyway. I strongly agree with the point of the article: people will pay for music if it’s quality music.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing Joe Ely live in Arlington, VA. I had never heard him play before, but he put on a fantastic one-man show that featured not only terrific music but also a big helping of grace and humor. My first act on getting home was to buy two of his albums, and I’ll be buying more.
On top of that, the opener for the show was Karen Jonas. She and her guitarist Tim Bray were incredible, and Karen reported on her Twitter that the crowd bought every CD she had brought with her to sell. This was based on an opening set that lasted less than an hour. She’s that good.
Yeah, people will pay for good music when they find it.
November 23, 2015 @ 2:38 pm
That was at the Unitarian church on Route 50, right? I saw that she was opening for Joe Ely there. I like Joe Ely and have four of his albums and have heard good things about his latest. If I hadn’t had two shows to go to within a week of that one (Lee Ann Womack and Dave Rawlings Machine), I might have gone.
The last I heard is that she’s looking to release her next album in March 2016.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
November 24, 2015 @ 3:36 am
That’s the place. I got some pictures, of Karen Jonas:
And Joe Ely:
Yeah, at this show she said March 2016 would be the release for her next album; I don’t know if a specific day that month is set yet.
November 27, 2015 @ 8:14 am
Thanks, EES. Excellent pictures. Looks like a cool place to see a show.
November 23, 2015 @ 3:22 pm
I would love to hear Adele and Raul Malo sing together.
November 23, 2015 @ 3:23 pm
If you never taste Baskin- Robbins other 29 flavors of ice cream , you’ll LOVE chocolate or you’ll LOVE vanilla . If chocolate ice cream is the one you were raised on and were never introduced to or even made aware that there were now more than eleventy -seven other flavours , you’ll LOVE chocolate ice cream.
These ‘ digital times ” are a double-edged sword . Anyone and his backward -hatted brother who plays guitar can make an album IN HIS BEDROOM and probably has .Unfortunately these mostly undisciplined , unstructured , unguided and un-filtered ‘artistic efforts’ have seeped into the musical zeitgeist and have , to a large and dangerous extent, negatively tainted pop music . That is , if your first exposure to pop music is bad song-writing writing ,sub-par performances vocally AND musically as well as bad production and you think you like it , this WILL become the template your sensibilities will gauge everything by . There is SO MUCH watered-down cliche-riddled SHIT eminating from the above-mentioned and other un-educated sources that GREAT or even damn good music just begins to sound overwhelmingly foreign to you . Yes , you might argue that it has always been thus ….but never to this degree, thanks , as I mentioned above , to the digital times and ever-cheaper and more accessible recording technology . And yes , you might argue ( as I myself have, on occasion ) that these circumstances have, indeed , lead to some GREAT artists being acknowledged for just that . Unfortunately , the opposite is the case many times more often .
Adele certainly has undeniable vocal talents . Tone , texture ,a seemingly innate ability to emote and elicit the appropriate emotional response from a listener , a vocal character that stands her apart in a sea of sound-alikes and certainly comes across as likable personally . Which brings us back to the songs. Lyrically , most of her songs are inferior in terms of narrative ,craft and freshness. On the page , her words often read like bad elementary school poetry . I think she is fortunate that the above -mentioned vocal attributes make up for the missing elements in the songs themselves. All this to say that I firmly believe that the inferior nature of the songs and the melodies and production in these ” anyone – can -write- a-song-and-make-an-album ” times has resulted in a lowering of musical standards heretofore unheard since the inception of musical recordings . There is so much shit calling itself music in our ‘space’ that we’ll now accept something marginally better than that lowest common musical nominator as being good . And that is ultimately just cheating ourselves out of the real thing and a standard long gone .
November 23, 2015 @ 9:02 pm
I agree with this and will ad that the “There has always been bad music” argument falls in a similar path. It is true there has always been bad music but not this degree and yes music can be quatified as good or bad on some level. For example the amount of throw away pop/doo-wop in the late 50s was arguably stupid, silly, cliche but just the same back then there wasn’t the technology to fix the voice or fix mistakes YOU HAD TO be able to sing or in many cases harmonize. And musicians, especially session players had their craft down or they didn’t get paid. So yes there has always been bad music but there didn’t used to be as much BAD music. And by music I mean mainstream billboard popular music.
I imagine Taylor Swift wouldn’t have been signed as an artist back in the Brill Building days, she may have been a sing-writer but not a singer because she can’t sing in tune or on key.
November 24, 2015 @ 12:17 am
“I imagine Taylor Swift wouldn”™t have been signed as an artist back in the Brill Building days, she may have been a sing-writer but not a singer because she can”™t sing in tune or on key. ”
This is an excellent point and illustrates MY points above . TS and many many many other contemporary self-proclaimed “singers” would have been laughed out of a recording studio in the pre-autotune era. Almost without exception vocalists had to be INCREDIBLE to warrant a studio’s investment of time , money , the BEST studios , equipment and players. Only then would a studio give you the BEST possible material ( songs ) available to record – Finely honed and impeccably crafted songs …lyrically and melodically , went to the BEST artists .You don’t HAVE to be able to sing or even write very well now to sell music or sellout arenas and stadiums . I think we all know that ….but the more bewildering aspect of this is that we DON’T CARE if someone can sing or not….just like we don’t care whether a movie or television program is good or not . I think people KNOW a good singer when they hear one ( Adele, Celine Dion , Henley etc.. ) but we don’t CARE if a person IS a good singer or not . We listen , watch and buy WHAT IS HIP , what is aggressively marketed , ( Bachelor , Kardashians , Springer etc…. ) what we are force-fed as the pop culture bar is lowered further almost by the day .
November 23, 2015 @ 6:38 pm
I absolutely love Adele. Even a “bad” song sounds good with that voice. She’s far and away the best singer of this generation.
Your quote “There”™s just no music worth spending their money on” couldn’t be any more honest (With a very tiny exception, of course). To extend on what you said, most new music isn’t even worth the 3 minutes it takes to listen to.
November 23, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
At this point, your hate-on for Taylor Swift is really rather sad. I mean, yes, it will get you clicks and hits, but it serves no purpose. She isn’t a country artist, she doesn’t claim to be, and you are still wasting time and space to bash her whenever possible, whether it’s pointlessly reviewing what she called a Pop album or reviewing Adele only so you can bash Swift.
It’s silly, and childish.
November 23, 2015 @ 7:14 pm
How people are taking this as a Taylor Swift hate piece is confounding. So the only reason I posted this was to bash Taylor. Sorry folks, but Taylor Swift is not the center of the universe. My take on Taylor Swift throughout her career has been way more complicated and nuanced than I’m getting credit for here. If anything, I’m bashing the Max Martin version of Taylor Swift, which in truth isn’t bashing Taylor Swift at all, but wanting the more pure version of her, like we heard on “Speak Now,” like we hear with Adele who doesn’t rely on others, but allows her own expressions to shine through.
November 23, 2015 @ 9:07 pm
It funny how people accuse you of making this about Taylor Swift when in fact THEY are making this about Taylor swift. I don’t get it can we not celebrate the fact that there are people who can sing on key and write lyrics of substance and still sell some records? Of course I MYSELF made some TS comments above so I guess I should shut my yapper.
Still these defensive Taylor centered comments, to use some vintage 4chan, make it sound like we have some butthurt TS fans on here.
November 23, 2015 @ 9:46 pm
Every time I see the name “Shellback” as a producer for cheesy ass pop bands I still can’t believe it. That dude used to be the singer for a Swedish cyber death metal band called Blinded Colony.
That’s him singing….
November 30, 2015 @ 5:25 am
This sounds like an overly crappy ripoff of KMFDM!!!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:33 pm
I’ve been reading other pages regarding Adele and her sales and the TS “war” and I think this is an interesting dichotomy where I saw TS sales as a result of die hard and hard won mainly teen fan base. Adele’s sales seem to be the result of a more broad fan base both young and old meaning her demo more spread out and not propped up solely on the teen demographic, which to speaks to why I always felt Adele and broader appeal than people Like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift or Arianna Grande.
November 24, 2015 @ 7:53 am
I am an Adele fan, have her 2 earlier cd’s, but she is just repeating herself, a big voice, maudline songs about ex boyfriends but not much else. No variety or versatility, but tons of hype, not buying it this time.
To quote a Sheryl Crowe lyric “I wonder if she’s ever had a day of fun in her whole life’
I had enough of Carrie Underwood by her third cd, guess it takes more than “loud” to keep me interested.
December 1, 2015 @ 11:50 am
adele has a louder voice than underwood but underwood has more vocal range than adele and underwood voice can adapt well to any type of music while adele is old soul but both women can sing and have more talent than taylor and that is why taylor fans make a big fool themselves here. attacking underwood and adele
You say underwood is loud. is this how taylor fans define people who can sing.. as loud? no it is called having more than one octave.Taylor barley has two octave and her first octave is cringe worthy even with auto tune helping her.
taylor is lucky she is skinny,knows the inner music circle and have stupid teen girls buying her records.taylor is a mediocre singer and immature song writer. dont take it out on adele and carrie for taylor lack of singing abilities..
November 24, 2015 @ 2:51 pm
Adele is an overrated singer. Pop sucks and Adele’s music is all about the same breakup b.s. what does it even matter about posting this comment since it will just be taken down.
November 25, 2015 @ 4:37 pm
I’ve heard Adele’s entire album now and I stand by my earlier comments . GREAT voice , stands apart from much current pop music – but the material is so repetitive and weak and generally unrealzed that I ‘m certain I won’t listen again . ( so THERE, Adele ….LOL ) .
I would love to hear artists gifted vocally like this record REAL songs written by serious and experienced song craftsmen/women . Problem is …they don’t HAVE to if no one in their ‘camp’ is motivated or qualified enough to be truthful with them and the songs sell either way . Why divy up the spoils any more than you have to ?
November 25, 2015 @ 7:21 pm
Trigger, this is a beautiful review. Recently, when talking about Adele with someone I also used the word “timeless” to describe her music. Many of her songs will endure and we’ll still be listening to them twenty years from now.
November 26, 2015 @ 8:36 am
Popular artist’s are in a no win situation. People bitch when the stay with what works, people bitch when they change it up.
November 26, 2015 @ 10:33 am
I really like Adele I have yet to buy her “25” cd. I am tired that (matter of opinion) people hating on poor Taylor Swift. She is cute and a very good singer. We are talking about Adele now not bashing Taylor Swift site.
November 26, 2015 @ 3:31 pm
The most interesting part of this piece to me is its similarity with Taylor’s WSJ op-ed. To wit:
“Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.”
“People are still buying albums, but now they’re buying just a few of them. They are buying only the ones that hit them like an arrow through the heart or have made them feel strong or allowed them to feel like they really aren’t alone in feeling so alone.”
The fact that both of their albums prove these sentiments correct, to me, seems to contradict your assertion that Taylor is loyal to the ephemeral while Adele is an objective classic. I don’t see how you can make any edictal claim that Swift evolves “just to be different.” To me it’s clear that her motive isn’t purely to stay at the top””she’s made plain that she looks forward to the day when she can just write songs for other people and not be everywhere all the time””but rather to consistently excite her audience AND herself. It’s about allowing her growth as a human being to inform her artistic growth. I believe she’s loyal first and foremost to her muse.
I am sincerely thankful that Ms. Swift’s convictions as a businesswoman are being vindicated by Adele and Triggerman. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
November 26, 2015 @ 8:05 pm
Well, at least it’s good to see that you’ve lightened up on Taylor Swift.
November 27, 2015 @ 10:59 am
River Lea is a collaboration with Danger Mouse, and it sounds exactly like the songs Danger Mouse was making as part of Broken Bells.
It’s the least “Adele” thing on the album. So weird to call it out as authentic/non-committee.
November 27, 2015 @ 11:35 am
I would respectfully disagree with the assessment of it being the “least Adele” thing on the album. She wrote the song with Brian Burton (Danger Mouse), so that makes only two people on the track. That’s far from a committee, it’s a collaboration. And I don’t think sonically it sticks out on the track list nearly as much as “Send My Love.” Of course, that’s an opinion I guess. If I erred in any way in my assessment of the song, perhaps it would be not mentioning Danger Mouse, but understand, I’m a country music guy. Can’t really say I’m very well versed in the Danger Mouse discography to go out on a limb and start comparing Adele to his stuff specifically.
November 30, 2015 @ 9:17 am
Trigger I cant reply directly to your comment above but here is the lie I have a problem with about Max Martin: He just comes in, wanks with the melody and production, cuts out verses to double up on a catchy chorus, and absconds with 1/3rd of the songwriting credits.
You have no proof of that and should not write it in a place where your readers will see it and think that it is true because they trust and respect you. If you do have proof then you should obviously publish an expose in billboard.
November 30, 2015 @ 10:05 am
I have no use for singers with gifted voices wailing on about the same old shit.
I’m kinda OK with Buble and HC Jr. And I would kill to go back in time and catch Sinatra at his best. But I have no idea who buys into all this fucking Celine Dion-type shit.