- When you’ve created the bestselling album of the millennium, and won every major music award for it, where next? For Adele Adkins, the answer was to escape the media circus entirely and resist the pressure to release a swift follow-up. Reflecting on her decision to delay, she recently told i-D, “I was being a mum. I couldn’t rush it. And you’ve got to give people a chance to miss you.” Judging by the commercial performance of her superb comeback single, many, many people have missed the Tottenham-born singer-songwriter very much. ‘Hello’ remains a clear standout on the full-length, alongside ‘River Lea’, the Max Martin-assisted ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’, and Paul Epworth co-writes ‘Sweetest Devotion’ and ‘I Miss You’. Whether 25 ultimately outperforms 21 remains to be seen but, regardless, it’s a joy to have Adele’s astonishing voice back.
- It’s been a rough year for One Direction fans. First, Zayn Malik quit the group, and then the remaining members announced an “extended hiatus”, to commence in March 2016. Naturally, sources were quick to insist that 1D “fully intend to get back together at some time in the future”, but a question mark still hangs over the group’s future. Still, if Made In The A.M. is to be their last LP together, it’s a decent enough swansong. Strong singles like ‘Perfect’ and ‘Drag Me Down’ cancel out an appalling ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’-ish misstep called ‘Never Enough’, and the mature, anthemic ‘Hey Angel’ is redolent of second-wave Take That, thereby leaving the door open for a belated comeback. Now, enjoy your break, boys: you’ve earned it.