Today, British singer Adele has made her record-breaking album 25 available on streaming services for the first time. The 11-track LP was first released on November 20, 2015.
25 sold over 3 million copies in its first week of release, making it the most single-week sales for an album, and would go on to become 2015's best-selling album with over 17 million copies sold. Following the success, Adele left Columbia Records for Sony and a deal reportedly worth $130 million for 3 albums — which would be among the richest record contracts of all time.
For all its commercial success, the album might be considered an artistic disappointment compared to her breakthrough album 21, which was released in 2011 and featured the hit singles "Rolling in the Deep," "Someone Like You," "Set Fire to the Rain," and "Rumour Has It."
Adele is certainly a great vocal talent, and 25 proves that she's still got it after a long break and career-threatening vocal cord surgery in 2011. Having said that, quite a bit of these tracks feel like middle-of-the-road schmaltz compared to her best work. An army of producers and songwriters wasn't enough to make this album a true masterpiece, but even the harshest critics (like myself) would concede that it's a good album with more than a few deeply rewarding moments for pop music lovers.
Pick up 25 on Amazon. You can also stream the full album above for free, via Spotify.