That headline’s a pretty grand statement isn’t it? A little bit presumptuous perhaps? Is it too soon for those kind of predictions before anything more than one track has even been heard? The answer is no, if what we have seen so far is anything to go by.
Adele is well known for enjoying her private time in between records, but many would argue that after the cultural phenomenon that was her last album, 21 – which sold over 30 million copies – she would be lucky if she could go back to that. This is the woman who shouldered the bulk of record sales that kept the industry afloat in 2012. Yet it seems she is of that rare calibre of superstar; the one that is afforded their privacy and the privilege of taking time between their records because the world will wait. Like the stars of old she holds that perfect balance of keeping the public’s attention while cherishing her private life.
We have heard countless rumours about release dates, album progress and stars such as Ryan Tedder, Damon Albarn and even Pharell Williams spouting information about the album, but no word from the lady herself. That all changed Sunday October 18, when a 30 second music clip was played during an ad-break in the X Factor, and hairs stood up on the back of necks around the nation. Within 20 minutes the internet was in meltdown with people debating whether it was her new song. Adele 3.0 had just begun its ripple effect.
Then on Wednesday, the first official word from her came via her Twitter account. Confirming her album, 25, she apologised for the long wait with her typical trademark frankness saying “sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened”. The following Thursday, October 22, she confirmed a release date as November and the tracklist. And Friday, we finally got a full taste of lead single ‘Hello’ via YouTube.
So with anticipation at fever pitch amid a campaign that started five days ago with an advert that sent the music and social media world into meltdown, we can officially start counting down the days until the most anticipated album of the year hits the shelves. The minimal promo campaign may pain some fans, but Adele just schooled us on how doing almost nothing can whip up such hysteria. It’s a strategy that has worked very well for Janet Jackson’s comeback album. No press, just anticipation and titillation through social media.
It has been four years since 21, and the pop landscape has changed drastically since then. We are now living in an era when streaming is the main avenue of music consumption and it begs the question, where does Adele fit into all this and how will she fare? Nothing will ever sell like 21 again, not even 25, but it certainly says something about the sheer power of an artist when the industry clears out its diaries for all November releases so as to avoid a clash with her. Emeli Sande just pushed her sophomore album back to next year on advice from record label execs, Justin Beiber and Kylie Minogue have made their release dates either side of Adele’s. What does that tell us? Well, it tells me that Adele has found that song that she says she has to believe in before releasing an album. And not only will she fit back in nicely, she’ll be going straight back to the top. Welcome back Adele, it’s been a long time coming!
George Mcloughlin @