Courtesy of XL Records.
7. 25 – Adele
After four years since her record-setting sophomore album, Adele finally offers eleven new tracks that we can foolishly attempt to sing along to. Following childbirth and recovering from vocal surgery, the British singer, always having a maturity that surpassed her age, takes on a new, more developed approach to romance. As much as we loved the break-up ballads of 21, there is something more stunning and more sensational in gold-threaded melodies of 25. From the dark nostalgia of “Million Years Ago” to the torrential brightness of “Sweetest Devotion,” Adele is an expert in making her listeners cry. (Whether these are tears of joy or of deep sadness is still undecided.) Even the b-sides are rich in emotional weight and powerhouse vocal power. “All I Ask” is arguably the singer’s most vocally challenging song yet with a staggering chorus that exhibits her incomparable range. Overall, this record reveals an Adele more eager to love and to love wholeheartedly. Calling this album a “make-up” record, she kicks her bitterness to the curb and rekindles her sense of self and her sense of time with sparkling songs sure to leave you speechless. Bold and lionhearted, Adele shows us something we should already know: she cannot be silenced.