After almost five years of waiting, we’re now only a week away from the release of a brand new Adele album. We all know what this means. Last time Adele wrote an album, she literally went into the studio the day after she broke up with her long-term boyfriend and screamed. That scream became “Rolling in the Deep,” which became 21, which became the U.K.’s fourth best-selling album of all time. This time around, it seems things are going to be a little different—but if we know Adele, it won’t be any less impactful. Here’s everything we know about 25 so far.
It’s about growing up
Adele has done heartbreak—she’s over it now. This time, she explained in a Twitter note last month, “25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising.” In an interview with i:D, she elaborated: "I was very conscious not to make 21 again. I definitely wasn't going to write a heartbreak record 'cause I'm not heartbroken, but I probably won't be able to better the one I did, so what's the point? Bit cliché, innit?”
It was inspired by—but isn't about—being a mom
Though Adele cites the birth of her son Angelo with giving her the motivation to begin recording again (“I want my kid to know what I do,” she told Carson Daly), she scrapped an album’s worth of material on the theme of motherhood because according to her, it was “pretty boring for anyone who isn’t a mum.”
It's Adele's own Ray of Light
“One of the chief inspirations for 25 was Madonna’s Ray of Light,” Adele told Rolling Stone. “You know what I found so amazing about that record? That’s the record Madonna wrote after having her first child, and for me, it's her best…’”
But it sounds like 2015
Don't be fooled by her flip phone; Adele's 25 is apparently on-trend. Paul Epworth, co-writer on two album tracks (and three on 21), told Rolling Stone that “This time, it was about trying to come up with the weirdest sounds that I could get away with...This album feels like it fits in maybe more with the cultural dialogue instead of being anachronistic to it. It’s almost like she’s trying to beat everyone else at their own game.”
She freestyled lyrics
We're not kidding: in the past, Adele would buy a Moleskine notepad and fills it with lyrics before working on an album, but this time, she kept the pages blank and improvised many lines in the studio. “It’s impossible to question why she’s where she is once you sit down with her to write a song,” singer-songwriter and Adele's new collaborator Tobias Jesso Jr. told Rolling Stone. “She was the first introduction I had to somebody who could sing words on the spot that were actually really great.”
Even the rejects are stellar
Adele’s been in and out of the studio working on this record for years. Tracks written with Sia Furler (including “Alive” and “Bird Set Free,” now on Sia’s own upcoming album This Is Acting), Ryan Tedder, Kid Harpoon, and Damon Albarn were all eventually rejected from the final album tracklist.
Many songs were scrapped on Rick Rubin's advice
Rubin stepped in when Adele was swimming in demos to remind her to be selective and patient. “In the new material I heard, it was clear she wasn't the primary writer,” Rubin told Rolling Stone. “Many of the songs sounded like they might be on a different pop artist’s album. It’s not just her voice singing any song that makes it special.”
One song was written on Philip Glass' piano
During recording sessions with singer-songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. in L.A. The result is “When We Were Young,” a track i:D describes as being “the album’s ‘Rolling in the Deep.’”
There's also a ballsy ballad co-written by Bruno Mars
According to i:D, “All I Ask” “throws every piece of Barbara Streisand, Bette Midler diva shtick at the wall to immense, overwhelming effect.”
And a song Adele started 14 years ago
“Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” purported to be one of the album’s more upbeat moments, was based on a skeleton of a song Adele wrote at the age of 13, inspired by Amy Winehouse.
One track is kinda sorta about sex
But it’s unlikely to be free of emotional complications, given it’s titled “I Miss You.” Adele told i:D, "It's about intimacy on every level. It's about sex, it's about arguing, one of the most intimate moments in my life.”
It features alt-hitmaker Ariel Rechtshaid
The engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist with credits for Blood Orange, HAIM, Vampire Weekend, and more worked with Adele on track four, “When We Were Young”—apparently her next single. With Rechtshaid's past form (remember “Climax”?), there's every reason to expect there will be a dash of his smouldering, left-of-centre style on Adele's next surefire hit.
But mostly: you are going to hear it everywhere, for a long time
Lead single “Hello” alone broke the record for digital downloads in the first week of in its release. To boot, the video had the biggest YouTube debut of 2015, with upwards of one million views per hour. Meanwhile, in the same week, 25 went to number one in 93 countries on pre-orders alone. Prepare yourself: there is going to be no escaping this whirlwind of an album very soon.