Adele has had nearly five years to savor the massive success of her last album but, on a release that could be even bigger, she is looking back wistfully on what once had been. On Adele’s third album “25,” which came out 20th Novembere, the singer has little interest in gloating about fame or experimenting in style, instead returning to the emotional depths that have so resonated with her vast fan base. Adele, her soaring but soulful voice possessing the same power, retraces the memories of her working-class childhood around London as she reflects from her new, uncomfortable perch.
Adele-who, despite the album’s title, is 27 — has described “25” as a look at her life “teetering on the edge of being an old adolescent and a fully fledged adult.”
Adele owes her success in no small part to her unpretentious, non-rock star image. She is not known to shake her body on stage or trash hotel rooms and is marking Friday’s release by singing at Joe’s Pub, a cozy club in New York’s Greenwich Village. Yet Adele nonetheless is carrying the hopes of the music industry. “21” was the top-selling album in the United States for two consecutive years and, by a comfortable margin, the biggest release in Britain so far this century. The music industry, which has been stagnant after stemming years of heavy losses, believes “25” could be the most successful album in more than a decade.
In the United States alone, Adele’s label has shipped 3.6 million physical copies to stores, according to industry journal Billboard.
The shipment numbers are the highest since “No Strings Attached” by boy band NSYNC in 2000, which was the year before Apple’s iTunes shook up the music business by mainstreaming digital sales. In a sign of confidence in “25,” the album will not be available on streaming sites such as Spotify, making Adele one of the rare artists along with Taylor Swift to resist the fast-growing sector of on-demand online music. “Hello,” the first song on “25,” already broke the record for the biggest US debut for a single since the advent of iTunes.