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It seems Adele's stratospheric rise with the release of her fantastic sophomore album 21 in 2011 was only the beginning. Her 2015 follow-up record, 25, was highly anticipated and continues to break records.

25 continues Adele’s honest exploration of relationships, those long ended and those that are just beginning. It has been influenced by the birth of her son and by being in a longer, more mature relationship. Adele has said that this album is also about her relationship with herself—a conversation with her younger self, including the wisdom and experience she has gained since.

The mega-hit “Hello” expresses these dual meanings well: “Hello, it's me/I was wondering if after all these years/You’d like to meet, to go over everything/They say that time's supposed to heal ya/But I ain't done much healing/Hello, can you hear me/I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be/When we were younger and free/I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet/There’s such a difference between us.”

Adele again relies on her raw vocal talent, moving beyond her teen pop counterparts musically and lyrically. She creates some nostalgia using classic gospel music influences. On “River Lea,” she summons the symbolism of baptism while using a choir as background vocals.

This album, like all of Adele’s music, finds a way to get into your brain and remains long after you have heard the last notes. (Columbia)

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