Album Reviews

Review: Adele finds maturity beyond her years on “25”

This CD cover image released by Columbia Records shows, "25," the latest release by Adele. The singer’s hotly anticipated album is out Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Columbia Records via AP)
This CD cover image released by Columbia Records shows, “25,” the latest release by Adele. The singer’s hotly anticipated album is out Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Columbia Records via AP)

It’s been years in the making, but Adele hasn’t missed a step with “25.”

With her latest album, the singer has elevated her status as a torch singer to the level of a maven of hopeful heartbreak. Whether or not it’s justified, when a singer is hailed as the next Whitney Houston, they at minimum deserve some attention (not to mention skepticism).

Related: Adele’s “25” moves millions of copies in less than a week

With “25,” Adele furthers her formula and voice to a level unlike anything we’ve heard on previous projects. “Water Under the Bridge” has her finding strength in rejection, a song that would have registered as a new “Rolling in the Deep” in a different time. The singer’s newfound freedom from heartbreak is all over “25.” She paints it with a melancholy piano on “Love in the Dark,” and stands as what seems to be a truly matured Adele on “All I Ask.”

Adele’s effortless, emotive voice has always made her different from other pop starlets like Beyonce and Gaga–even after the pain that birthed the feeling has long subsided. To be sure, “25” isn’t the break-up anthem fans were expecting. Instead, we find Adele casting aside the heavy burden of love’s insecurities and standing alone with her triumphs, pains and that flooring vocal range of hers that’s only gotten stronger with time. As the last of her “age albums,” she’s come out from the other side in as fine a form as one could hope.