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|Studio album by Adele|
|Singles from 25|
25 is the third studio album recorded by Adele. It was released on November 20, 2015 through XL Recordings. Following the release and international success of Adele's second studio album 21 (2011), she had considered quitting the music industry and going out on a positive note. However, Adele decided to take a hiatus instead and raise her son. During her sabbatical, she suffered with writer's block and rescheduled the album's studio sessions fearing she had lost her ability to write songs. In 2013, Adele had a breakthrough and the material that eventually became 25 manifested, with writing and recording continuing through to 2015. According to the singer, the album's title is a reflection of her when she was 25 and the frame of mind she was in during that age.
Titled as a reflection of her life and frame of mind at 25 years old, 25 is a "make-up record." The album's lyrical content features themes of Adele "yearning for her old self, her nostalgia," and "melancholia about the passage of time," according to an interview with Adele by Rolling Stone, as well as themes of motherhood and regret. In contrast to Adele's previous work, the production of 25 incorporated the use of electronic elements and creative rhythmic patterns, with elements of 1980s R&B and organs. Like 21, Adele collaborated with producer and songwriter Paul Epworth and Ryan Tedder, along with new collaborations with Max Martin and Shellback, Greg Kurstin, Danger Mouse, the Smeezingtons, Samuel Dixon, and Tobias Jesso Jr.
25 received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended Adele's vocal performance. The album achieved commercial success by debuting at number one in more than 25 markets and broke first-week sales records in multiple countries, including the United Kingdom and United States; in the US, the album sold 3.38 million copies in its first week of release, marking the largest single-week sales for an album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991. A month after its release, the album had sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Many journalists regarded the album as having an impact on the music industry by encouraging the public to return to buying physical albums, instead of downloading or streaming.
Following 21, it was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), denoting shipments of ten million copies in the United States, making Adele the only artist of the 2010s to achieve this certification with two albums. Many journalists felt that the album impacted the music industry by encouraging the public to return to buying physical albums, instead of downloading or streaming. 25 received the Brit Award for British Album of the Year, while the lead single "Hello" won British Single of the Year. The album then won the 2017 Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. "Hello" also won Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance.
Like her first two albums, 19 and 21, the album was expected to be titled after her age at the time of the album's writing process. On May 4, 2014, in honor of her birthday the next day, Adele tweeted, "Bye bye 25... See you again later in the year x," strongly hinting that the album would be titled 25 and would be released later on in the year. Despite this, the album was not released in 2014, causing speculation that the album had been pushed back and, consequently, the title would be changed. In September 2015, however, Hits Daily Double confirmed that the album was titled 25. On October 21, 2015, Adele reaffirmed that the album would indeed be called 25. In several interviews that took place during the promotion of the album, Adele revealed that 25 would be her final album titled after her age, noting that she "[believes] in trilogies," and that "I feel like how I feel about myself [now] is how I'm going to feel about myself forever."
Composition and collaborators
Backstage at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, Adele confirmed that the album was not very far along, but implied that Paul Epworth would be the first person she would approach in regards to new music: "I’m not very far along at all. I’m having lots of meetings. I’ve been in L.A. the whole time since the Globes and I’ll be here 'till the Oscars. So I’m having lots of meetings, but I’ve been out of the loop, really. I’ve just been singing my baby nursery rhymes, so I don’t really know what’s cool and what’s not. I’m definitely going to visit with Paul Epworth and talk about doing that again." Two of the album's tracks, "I Miss You" and "Sweetest Devotion," were both co-written by Epworth.
In October 2013, Ryan Tedder, who co-wrote "Rumour Has It" and "Turning Tables" with Adele, revealed that he was sworn to secrecy in regards to the album, but that he was working on it and that she sounded "even better than before." Arjan Timmermans, a writer for the Grammys' official website, spoke with Tedder prior to the ceremony in 2014 and reported that Tedder had finished working on the album (although he went back into the studio with Adele several times throughout 2014 after these comments were made) and that the album sounded "different." Tedder also stated that Adele was in a good place and was very happy, and that she planned to release the album when she felt it was ready. Despite the extensive writing Tedder did for the album, his only contribution to the final version of the album was "Remedy," which Adele revealed was one of the first tracks written for the album.
In February 2015, it was confirmed that Emile Haynie had a meeting with Adele regarding her new album. Haynie later confirmed that despite meeting, Adele had yet to contact him in regards to the album, and that he didn't want to "push for it" because she was "taking her time" to record it. Upon the album's release, it was revealed that Haynie had provided additional instrumentation on the album's lead single "Hello." "Hello" was co-written and produced by Greg Kurstin, who also wrote "Water Under the Bridge" and "Million Years Ago" for the album.
James Ford and Kid Harpoon were initially rumored to be two of the album's producers and give Adele a more modern and "edgy" sound. Adele later confirmed in an interview with i-D that Kid Harpoon was one of the first producers she approached about the album; however, their recording sessions remained unfruitful. In January of 2014, it was reported that Greg Wells, Francis White, and Naughty Boy would all be working on the album. There was also speculation that Adele worked with Rick Rubin again on the album, however, Rolling Stone revealed in 2015 that Rubin and Adele parted ways after their work on 21. Despite this, Rubin was a creative consultant for Adele during the album's writing process.
In August of 2015, Billboard confirmed that Danger Mouse worked with Adele on the album, but that it remained to be seen if their work would make the album's final cut. Their sole collaboration was a track titled "River Lea," which pays homage to Adele's London roots. Billboard later reported that Max Martin and Tobias Jesso Jr. also penned tracks for the album. Martin and frequent collaborator Shellback contributed production and writing credits to "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," while Tobias Jesso Jr. helped write "Lay Me Down" and "When We Were Young," the latter of which Adele considers her favorite song she's ever written.
4 Non Blondes frontwoman Linda Perry was responsible for co-writing "Can't Let Go," the album's first bonus track. The aforementioned "Lay Me Down," co-written by Tobias Jesso Jr., served as the album's second bonus track. Prior to the release of 25, Mark Ronson had confirmed that he had worked on new Adele music, but was unsure of whether or not it made the final cut. He went on to produce "Why Do You Love Me," a last-minute cut from the album that appears as its third and final bonus track. Other collaborators on the album included Bruno Mars ("All I Ask") and Sam Dixon ("Love in the Dark").
William Orbit, known for his work with Madonna and Britney Spears, had confirmed that in early 2014, he would be writing with Adele. On January 2, 2014, it was reported that Orbit had actually been the final person to work with Adele on her album and that Adele was preparing it for release. Orbit later took to Twitter to deny these reports, calling them "rumors" and further stating that he had something big planned that was occupying most of his time. He later confirmed that Adele had approached him about working on her album, but he didn't hear back from her and had no further plans to work with her.
In 2010, shortly before the release of 21, Paul Epworth confirmed via Twitter that he co-wrote a song titled "Saviour" with Adele, which had reportedly been considered for future release after being cut from 21.
In an interview with BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw following the release of "Hello," Adele revealed that she had written an entire album about being a mother and ultimately scrapped it because she found it to be "boring." She later admitted that the material she had composed for 25 was enough for three or four albums.
Drummer, producer, and sound engineer Matt Chamberlain posted the first picture of Adele recording the new album and confirmed that he had worked with her on her album, although their work together was omitted from the album before release.
Three collaborations with Sia were also written for the album. The first, "Alive," was co-written with Tobias Jesso Jr. and released as the lead single from Sia's then-upcoming studio album, This Is Acting, after being cut from 25 and rejected by Rihanna. Additionally, Sia penned "Bird Set Free" with Greg Kurstin for the Pitch Perfect 2 soundtrack, but it was rejected in favor of Jessie J's "Flashlight." It was later passed on by Rihanna and sent to Adele, who recorded a demo of the song but believed it was more fitting for Sia's album. A third Sia cut also exists, but has yet to be released.
In addition to the three songs Greg Kurstin contributed to 25, Adele revealed that at least one more collaboration with Kurstin exists and has the potential to be released in the future: "I feel like I'm a bit young tossing it right now, but it's a really great, great song. It's like Celine [Dion] meets Meat Loaf meets, like, Barbra [Streisand] meets, like, Beyoncé or something. It's, like, all of my wet-dream idols [laughs]. But it's really, really great, actually. We didn't finish it in time, and also it just felt like maybe I should be, like, 32 when I do it rather than 27? And there's definitely four or five other songs that I would definitely revisit. And it depends what place I'm at in my life, then. It might be completely irrelevant to me, then. I don't want to put a song on the record just because it's good if I can't relate to it."
Multiple collaborations with songwriter Diane Warren were also cut from 25. Recorded at RAK Studios in northwest London, most of their collaborations were written and completed by early 2014. Despite this, Warren mentioned the possibility of some of the songs appearing on future material, telling Entertainment Weekly, "I did some songs with Adele that she still loves. Hopefully they'll find their way onto her next album. We did some songs early in the process for 25. But I ran into her and she was like, 'I still love those songs. I still want them. Don’t give them away.' And they’re really good songs. Two, I think, are great."
It was also suggested that Phil Collins was initially involved in the project. Collins confirmed in January of 2014 that he had begun work with Adele. However, he later stated that, "[Adele] got a hold of me and asked if I would write with her. She gave me a piece of music to finish and at first I didn't know if I'd failed the audition as I didn't hear back from her. She said, 'No, no, I'm moving house and the baby's taking up a lot of my time, I'm not actually doing anything at the moment.' And now I've heard there's a [new album] coming out. I'm not on it, I know that." Despite this statement, it was reported in February of 2015 that while in Los Angeles, Adele recruited Collins to finish the material they planned to work on together. However, Adele implied that they never completed their work together, telling Rolling Stone, "I had this song in mind, and I can't remember if I gave him a copy of the song or if I gave him a chorus or something, and then I just chickened out of everything."
Damon Albarn also confirmed that he and Adele collaborated on five tracks, but all five were cut from the album; he further confirmed Danger Mouse's involvement in the album, which he controversially described as "very middle of the road." In a September 2016 interview with The Guardian, British songwriter Jamie Scott confirmed that he wrote "four or five" songs for 25 that were ultimately cut from the final product. Additionally, Pharrell Williams, Dan Wilson, and Jeff Bhasker all reportedly worked with Adele on material that did not make the final cut for the album.
Recording and release
In the August 2011 issue of Q Magazine, Adele revealed that she had written seven songs for her third studio album, which she promised would be more intimate and stripped-down than her first two.
|“||It won't be a big production. I want it to be quite acoustic and piano-led. I want to write it all, record it all, produce it all and master it on my own. I think it'll take a lot longer because I want to do it this way.||”|
Several rumors circulated throughout 2013 claiming that Adele was secretly working on her third album, with some stating that she wanted it out by the end of 2013. In April of 2013, a report suggested that Adele was in the studio working on her third album, and an even more recent report confirmed that Adele began work on her third album on April 22, 2013 with plans to release the album in mid-2014, her record label having reportedly pushed back the release date of Susan Boyle's fifth studio album in order to release Adele's album as soon as possible. It was further stated that Adele had written four songs and would be in total "lockdown mode" for the next couple weeks while she wrote and recorded the album in London and Los Angeles; this would also contradict the previous statement that would suggest she had seven songs written for the album. In June 2013, Adele was spotted several times with her son in New York City, leading the public to believe that she was staying there to record the album. One fan tweeted that she saw Adele go into the Sony building with her baby on June 24, 2013. In April 2013, it was reported that Adele had gone back into the studio with plans to release the album in mid-2014, with four songs already done. According to the rumor, Adele would write and record the album in London and Los Angeles, and would work with previous collaborator Paul Epworth.
In July 2014, the World Music Awards tweeted that Adele would be surprise-releasing a new album titled 25 soon with a 2015 tour to follow. These claims were denied by Chairman Martin Mills of Beggars Group, the parent company to Adele's label XL Recordings. This is not the first time a surprise release was suggested, as the Chairman of Adele's US record distributor, Columbia Records, also denied a "sneak attack" release after being directly asked whether or not Adele would follow in labelmate Beyoncé's surprise release technique.
Adele hinted in May 2014 that she would be releasing 25 later on in the year. In October 2014, however, a financial report from XL Recordings confirmed that no new music from Adele was scheduled to be released that year. Her publicist told Billboard that "at the moment, nothing is scheduled." Adele was insistent on ensuring that the album was "good enough" before she released it, which was one of the main reasons why the album was delayed.
In an interview with Sam Ashton of MSN Music, Ryan Tedder stated that Adele will release the album "when she decides it's finished." Paul Epworth similarly stated that the new Adele album "will come when it's ready" in an interview with Billboard in 2015. Richard Russell, head of XL Recordings, confirmed that he was pleased with Adele's progress on the album so far, stating, "It [the album] takes the length of time that it takes to do and for it to be right. I'm really pleased with how it's going. [Adele has] always had a very high standard for what she does. She had that from day one, which is why the records have been so good." Ryan Tedder told ABC News that he had heard most of the material being considered for Adele's third studio album and revealed his high hopes for the album, stating, "I'm super stoked. And I know that with the amount of insanely good songs she has to pick from — 'cause I've heard most of 'em — this album's gonna be crazy. She'll be able to toss aside hits, you know, and still have the most insane album. So I'm excited for her."
Following speculation that Adele would release an album at some point in 2015, it was reported that the album would not be released until the second half of 2015, if it is even released this year. In March 2015, Amazon Italy put an Adele album under the title of 25 up for pre-order on their website. Although some doubted whether or not the release was official, Amazon Italy removed the album from its store upon news outlets reporting it, causing major speculation that the album would be released in the near future. In April of 2015, several confidential emails and documents from Sony Enterprises leaked online; among them was a presentation that explicitly stated that Adele was one of several artists who would be releasing in 2014, confirming that the album was originally planned to be released in 2014, as Adele hinted, but was delayed. As of May 2015, the album was still incomplete, as it was confirmed Adele had recently been working in The Bridge Writing Studios in Southeast London.
In May of 2015, Sony Music website Open Mic, a site that is "an exclusive, invite-only, online community where you are asked to give your opinions on what Sony Music is doing," published a survey regarding new music from Adele that caused speculation she would be releasing later in the year. In June 2015, Roger Friedman, who previously was responsible for confirming Adele's involvement with Skyfall prior to her official announcement, announced that she had declined to return for the film's sequel, Spectre, in order to focus on recording her third studio album, which was tentatively scheduled for a fall 2015 release.
It was further revealed that Adele's third studio album would not be released before the Grammy deadline on September 30, indicating that it will not be released until at least October. British musician Naughty Boy then told reporters that Adele would be releasing in September and that several artists, including his frequent collaborator Emeli Sandé, would be postponing releases to avoid competing with Adele. However, later reports indicated that twenty tracks for the album were being mixed in Hollywood and prepared for a potential pre-Thanksgiving release. Billboard confirmed these reports, revealing that Adele would be releasing an album in November. Hits Daily Double later confirmed that the album would be released on November 20, 2015, which was reaffirmed by Adele's Facebook page on October 22.
A day before the album was officially released, it was reported that Adele had decided not to release it through streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Adele expanded on this decision in an interview with Time, stating, "I don’t use streaming. I buy my music. I download it, and I buy a physical [copy] just to make up for the fact that someone else somewhere isn’t. It’s a bit disposable, streaming. I know that streaming music is the future, but it’s not the only way to consume music… I can’t pledge allegiance to something that I don’t know how I feel about yet." However, the album's three singles were all made available on streaming services on the days of their respective releases; Adele explained on Today that this was due to the radio airplay the singles would already be receiving. Adele's manager Jonathan Dickins also pointed out that 25 follows in the vein of 21 and "Skyfall," both of which were initially withheld from streaming services for significant periods of time. On June 24, 2016, 25 was made available for streaming worldwide.
Themes and inspirationSources originally stated that the follow-up to 21 would be inspired by Adele's pregnancy and motherhood. Although there was some speculation that Adele would write more songs about heartache, she stated that she will never write another breakup record again: "I'm done with being a bitter witch." Adele also implied that it would be a happy record that may also chronicle her relationship with Simon Konecki, her boyfriend, stating, "I'll never be devastated again."
When asked about the album at the Academy Awards in 2013, Adele stated that it would pay homage to different musical styles; she further added that it would be much "rawer" than 21. She had previously expressed interest in expanding her sound to genres such as country and bluegrass, stating that she wanted to do some of the work for the album in Austin, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. This music influenced some of the music on 21, including "Don't You Remember" and a live cover of country group Lady Antebellum's song "Need You Now." Singer Kelly Clarkson, a fan and friend of Adele's, further confirmed this, telling The Wall Street Journal that, "I heard Adele is doing something more country-influenced with [her] next record." It had also been suggested that Adele would be returning to her modern jazz roots on 25 earlier on in the writing process.
Adele revealed in a 2013 interview that, "I’m not sure [when the album will be out]. We’ve been meeting with writers and talking but nothing is happening now. I’m a mother! I’m very into that. Also, I don’t know what to write about yet. The last album [had a theme].” When the interviewer suggested that she focus on covering other artists' material, she said, "I'm a writer and I'm going to write it."
Adele spoke about the inspiration behind the album more in-depth in a post on her social media:
|“||My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I'm making up with myself. Making up for lost time. Making up for everything I ever did and never did. But I haven't got time to hold on to the crumbs of my past like I used to. What's done is done. Turning 25 was a turning point for me, slap bang in the middle of my twenties. Teetering on the edge of being an adolescent and a fully-fledged adult. I made the decision to go into becoming who I'm going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk. I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won't come back. When I was in it I wanted out! So typical. I'm on about being a teenager, sitting around and chatting shit, not caring about the future because it didn't matter then like it does now. The ability to be flippant about everything and there be no consequences. Even following and breaking rules... is better than making the rules. 25 is about getting to know who I've become without realising. And I'm sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.||”|
|“||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. I was so all over the place after having a child, just because my chemicals were just hitting the fucking roof and shit like that... I was just drifting away, and I couldn't find that many examples for myself where I was like, 'Fuck, they truly came back to themselves,' until someone was like, 'Well, obviously, Ray of Light.'||”|
In an interview after the Golden Globe Awards, Adele confirmed plans to tour in the US when her next album was out, being that she had to cancel the remainder of her previous tour, the Adele Live tour. In a letter to one of her fans, Adele also confirmed plans to tour in Brazil when her next album is out; many fans interpreted this as a hint towards a world tour. During interviews prior to the album's release, Adele admitted to being hesitant to tour globally, revealing that she might only be capable of touring as much as she had done for previous albums. On November 26, 2015, however, Adele confirmed she had been bluffing and announced the European leg of her Adele Live 2016 tour. On December 14, she announced the North American leg of the tour. Over 500,000 fans registered at Adele.com to purchase tickets, with 57,000 tickets sold for the 12 shows that were put on sale in the UK. The tour included an eight-night residency at the Staples Center, a six-night residency at Madison Square Garden, and a headlining gig at Glastonbury Festival. The tour went on to become one of the best-selling tours of 2016.
Hits Daily Double confirmed that Adele had also secured a deal with NBC that would guarantee her own television special, as well as appearances on Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It was later confirmed that Adele would be the musical guest on the November 21 episode of Saturday Night Live, and that she would be filming a television special on November 17 at Radio City Music Hall, titled Adele Live in New York City, that would be broadcast on NBC on December 14. Adele also recorded an additional television special, Adele at the BBC on November 2 in London. Comprised of an interview with Graham Norton and performances of new songs, as well as songs from previous records, the program aired on BBC One on November 20, the same day the album was released.
On October 18, a snippet of a new Adele song from her new album was previewed in a television spot during an airing of The X Factor in the UK. On October 22, Adele confirmed that the lead single, "Hello," and its music video, would be released the following day, on October 23. "Hello" was released to positive critical and commercial response, and its accompanying music video went on to break the previous Vevo Record by achieving over 23.2 million views within a 24-hour span. The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained for ten consecutive weeks.
On December 14, it was confirmed that "When We Were Young" would be released as the album's second single. The song was officially released on January 22. The song peaked at number fourteen on the Hot 100. On April 27, "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" was announced as the third single from the album, and was released on May 16, 2016, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. "Water Under the Bridge" was released as the album's fourth single on November 4.
25 received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 75, based on 34 reviews. Reviewing for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine comments, "Fittingly, 25 also plays better over the long haul, its march of slow songs steadily revealing subtle emotional or musical distinctions," where "all 11 songs are ... a piece ... [of] shaded melancholy gaining most of their power through performance," and arguing that the "cohesive sound only accentuates how Adele has definitively claimed this arena of dignified heartbreak as her own." Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph stated that the album, covered the same "musical and emotional terrain: as 21 and continued to call it an "equal of its predecessor." Another positive review came from Mark Savage of BBC who believed that "overall, the record is a worthy successor to 21 ... [Adele's] vocals are undiminished, conveying sorrow, joy, sincerity and warmth, often in the space of a single phrase. And the A-list hitmakers who populate the record wisely build the songs around her presence," adding that "Well, your ears won't bleed, but your tear ducts are going to get a workout."
Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone commented that the album's "nostalgic mood is the perfect fit for an artist who reaches back decades for her influences, even as her all-or-nothing urgency feels utterly modern" and also praising her "incredible phrasing – the way she can infuse any line with nuance and power," which he argued served as "more proof that she's among the greatest interpreters of romantic lyrics." Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called it "a record that feels both new and familiar—a beautiful if safe collection of panoramic ballads and prettily executed detours." Billboard praised Adele's vocal performance writing that it's "swathed in echo, sounding like she's wailing beneath the vaults of the planet's most cavernous cathedral, they hit hard." The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Adele's fans have been waiting for years for new Adele songs to explain their experiences to them. And they get a worthy batch on 25, an album so full of heavy-duty drama that it makes a more lighthearted peer such as Katy Perry seem like a Pez dispenser."
Paul Bridgewater of The Line of Best Fit commended the album for being "almost an embarrassment of (pop) riches," arguing that it included "the quintessential DNA of what a 21st-century pop record is" and "some incredible modern classics." Amanda Petrusich from Pitchfork Media praised Adele's vocal delivery, arguing that "[her] instincts as a singer remain unmatched; she is, inarguably, the greatest vocalist of her generation, an artist who instinctively understands timbre and pitch, when to let some air in." Reviewing the album for The Independent, Andy Gill praised tracks like "River Lea" and "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)," calling them "isolated moments of musical intrigue scattered here and there through the album," but Gill believed that the songs on 25 gradually became "swamped by the kind of dreary piano ballads that are Adele's fall-back position." Bruce Handy, writing a review for the album from Vanity Fair, regards the music genre as old-style R&B to modern pop music, where the songs are mostly ballads.
The album became the most requested music-related item ever on the UK Amazon Store prior to there even being an announcement of new music from Adele. Fans who contacted Amazon customer support about Adele's third album received the following message: "Over 100,000 requests for Adele's yet-to-be-recorded third album have put this music product way above any other request for any form of music since Amazon started in 1995." On October 23, the same day the album was made available for pre-order, it reportedly became the most pre-ordered album of all-time.
In the United Kingdom, 25 debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart and sold 800,307 copies in its first chart week, overtaking Oasis' Be Here Now (1997) to become the fastest-selling album of all time in the UK. Of that total, 252,423 copies were digital downloads, breaking the record for most digital copies sold in a week, and 548,000 were physical copies. In its first week, 25 sold more copies in the UK than the combined sales of the last 19 number-one albums in UK on their debut week. It also outsold that week's other 86 highest-selling albums combined. After ten days on sale, it became the fastest million-seller in the UK, surpassing Be Here Now, which achieved this feat in 17 days in 1997. In its second week, 25 sold 439,337 copies, which broke the record for highest second-week sales in the UK and also was the sixth biggest weekly sales of all time. In its third week, 25 sold 354,000 copies, which represents the second highest third-week sales since Take That's The Circus, which sold 382,000 copies in its third week, and was also certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, with total UK sales at 1,593,530 copies. On 18 December, 29 days after its release, the album surpassed sales of 2 million copies in the UK, becoming the fastest 2 million-seller in the country. In its fifth week of release, the album sold another 450,000 copies in the UK, becoming the Christmas number one. The album has spent 13 non-consecutive weeks at number one, and as of November 2016, had sold 3.12 million copies, being later certified 11× Platinum. In December 2016, it became only the third album to be the UK's biggest-seller two years in a row, after Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Water (1970 and 1971) and Simply Red's Stars (1991 and 1992).
Elsewhere in Europe, 25 also opened atop of the German charts after selling 263,000 units, the largest weekly sale for a record since Herbert Grönemeyer's 2007 release 12. In France, 25 became the fastest-selling album of 2015 after it sold 169,693 copies, of which 26,295 were downloads. The album sold another 129,200 copies in France in its second week, bringing its two-week total to 300,000 copies. In its third week, 25's sales rose to 132,200 copies in France, bringing its total sales to 430,000 copies, which made it the third best-selling album of the year. In its fourth week of sales in France, sales of the album further rose to 133,000 copies, bringing its total sales to 565,000 copies in the country, earning it a diamond certification there. In the Netherlands, the album debuted at number one with first week sales of over 120,000 copies. The album also sold over 180,000 copies in the Benelux in its first week of release. In Spain, the album debuted atop the charts selling 20,000 copies in its first week, while in Portugal it also debuted at number one with sales of 3,200 copies. 25 also entered the charts at number one in Switzerland, selling over 40,000 copies in its first week, receiving a double platinum certification there.
In the United States, 25 sold 2.3 million after three days of availability, becoming the fastest-selling album of the 21st century and the best-selling album of 2015. The album reached sales of 2.433 million early on its fourth day, surpassing the single-week record for an album since Nielsen Soundscan began tracking sales in 1991, set by NSYNC's No Strings Attached in March 2000 when it debuted with 2.416 million copies. In total, it sold 3.38 million copies in the US in its first week, becoming the first album to sell over 3 million copies in a week. The album earned 3.48 million album-equivalent units in the US in its first week of release, which is the largest registered figure since the Billboard 200 began tracking weekly popularity based on overall units in December 2014. 25 also achieved 96,000 in track-equivalent album units in the US in its debut week, and another 8,000 in streaming-equivalent album units, all of which came from streams of the single "Hello," as it was the only song from the album available on streaming services at the time.
In the first three days of its second week, 25 sold over 650,000 units, surpassing 4 million sales, ending the week with 1.11 million copies. In its third full week, the album sold 695,000 copies, surpassing 5 million sales, becoming the first album to do so in a calendar year since Adele's own album 21 in 2011. By its fourth week sale of 790,000 copies, 25 became the best-selling album in any calendar year since Usher sold 7.98 million in 2004 with Confessions. It sold 1.16 million copies in pure album sales in its fifth week, and became the first album to sell over one million copies in three different frames. In its sixth week, the album sold another 307,000 copies at number one on the Billboard 200, becoming the first album to sell over 300,000 copies in six weeks since 2001 when Creed did so with Weathered. By the end of 2015, 25 had sold a total of 8,008,000 equivalent album units, 7,441,000 of which were pure album sales. It also sold 2,310,000 digital copies by the year end, making it the third best-selling digital album of all time behind Adele's own 21 and Taylor Swift's 1989. 25 was also the second biggest-selling album of a calendar year by a female artist in Nielsen history, only trailing behind Britney Spears' Oops!... I Did It Again which sold 7,890,000 copies in 2000. In its seventh week, the album remained at number one, selling another 164,000 units, becoming the first album by a female artist to top the Billboard 200 in its first seven weeks since Whitney Houston's 1987 album Whitney. In total, the album has spent ten non-consecutive weeks at the top of the chart, becoming the fifth album released since the 2000 to achieve, at least, 10 weeks at the summit. In September 2016, the album was certified diamond in the US.
In Canada, the album debuted at number one with sales of 306,000 copies, breaking the record for highest first-week sales, which was previously held by Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, which had sold 230,000 copies. In its second week 25 sold another 145,000 copies in Canada, bringing its two-week total to 451,000 copies. This represents the eighth-highest weekly sales in Canada, as well as the second highest second-week sales for an album, just behind the 146,000 copies sold by the Canadian compilation Big Shiny Tunes 2 in its second week in 1997. The album had sold 1 million copies in the US alone by May 2016.
Oceania and South Africa
In Australia, the album sold more than 210,000 copies in five days, passing the triple platinum mark there. It achieved octuple platinum certification (560,000 units) there in January 2016. In New Zealand, 25 broke the record for highest first week sales, selling 18,766 copies. The previous record holder was Susan Boyle, whose I Dreamed a Dream sold 17,435 copies in its first week. By the end of the year, 25 became the best-selling album of 2015 in New Zealand. In South Africa, 25 achieved double platinum sales in five days through physical and digital vendors.
In October 2015, numerous journalists speculated that other musicians had pushed back their albums in order to avoid chart competition with Adele; artists such as Justin Bieber, Sam Smith, and One Direction all did this so that their sales would not be affected. Columbia Records shipped 3.6 million physical copies of 25, across the United States, making it the most CDs shipped for a new release since the shipment of 4.2 million copies of NSYNC's No Strings Attached in 2000. One million copies of 25 were shipped to UK retailers, including HMV and Tesco. Ian Topping, chief executive of HMV, stated that the company had a great start with the album and sales had exceeded their expectations, continuing to say it was their "fastest selling album for many years."
Following the album's release, journalists reported that 25 was able to encourage the public to return to buying physical copies, compared to streaming. Adam Shewin of The Independent stated that "25 sent casual purchasers back to the remaining physical stores and may even have introduced a new generation to the delights of ownership." The album was described as saving the music industry, which was seeing dwindling profits with downloading and streaming as the popular methods of music consumption. The album was also noted for boosting sales of retailer Target, which sold the extra track edition of 25, during Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell stated that 25 was "the biggest release we've ever had—this is going to break all the records for us" and that "the combination of Adele dropping when it did, the weekend before Thanksgiving, really helped bring in people."
The album's first day sales in the US were 1.49 million, averaging at 62,000 copies per hour, and 1,000 copies per minute, while on iTunes, 25 sold 900,000 copies on its first day becoming the fastest-selling album in iTunes history. The album sold more copies in the US in its debut week than the previous number-one albums had sold in the previous 22 weeks combined. Additionally, it sold more copies in its first week than any album sold in an entire calendar year in three recent years (2008, 2009, and 2013). 25 sold more copies in the US in its opening week than the next two best-selling albums of the year combined (Taylor Swift's 1989 and Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which combined to sell 2.885 million copies in 2015). 25 sold more copies in its first week than the next two fastest-selling albums by female artists combined—Britney Spears's Oops!... I Did It Again, which sold 1.319 million in its first week, and Swift's 1989, which sold 1.287 million in its first week.
On January 5, 2016, Billboard stated that, in 2015, both digital and physical album sales experienced a 6% decline compared to 2014. 25 is credited to having eased the decline of the continuing downfall of album sales. It was further noted that, without the success of 25, the 6% decline would have been 9%, as the album made up 3.1% of the entire album sales total of 2015.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album at number two on its "The 50 Best Albums of 2015" year-end list. American newspaper Newsday also ranked the album at number two on their list of 2015's best albums, UK publication Complex listed the album at number four on their list of The Best Albums of 2015, and Entertainment Weekly listed the album at number three.
At the 2016 Brit Awards, Adele was nominated for five awards, in which she won four including British Album of the Year for 25 and British Single of the Year for "Hello." At the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, the singer was nominated for nine categories, winning five, including Top Billboard 200 Album for 25.
Additionally, Adele received five Grammy Award nominations for the album, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year, the latter two of which were for "Hello." She went on to win all five awards, making her the first artist in Grammy history to sweep the General Field categories twice. After controversially winning Album of the Year over Beyoncé, whose album Lemonade was favored to win, Adele dedicated the award to her.
|1.||"Hello"||Adele Adkins, Greg Kurstin||Kurstin||4:55|
|2.||"Send My Love (To Your New Lover)"||Adkins, Karl Johan Schuster, Max Martin||Martin, Shellback||3:43|
|3.||"I Miss You"||Adkins, Paul Epworth||Epworth||5:49|
|4.||"When We Were Young"||Adkins, Tobias Jesso Jr.||Ariel Rechtshaid||4:51|
|5.||"Remedy"||Adkins, Ryan Tedder||Tedder||4:05|
|6.||"Water Under the Bridge"||Adkins, Kurstin||Kurstin||4:00|
|7.||"River Lea"||Adkins, Brian Burton||Danger Mouse||3:45|
|8.||"Love in the Dark"||Adkins, Sam Dixon||Dixon||4:46|
|9.||"Million Years Ago"||Adkins, Kurstin||Kurstin||3:47|
|10.||"All I Ask"||Adkins, Bruno Mars, Christopher "Brody" Brown, Philip Lawrence||The Smeezingtons||4:32|
|11.||"Sweetest Devotion"||Adkins, Epworth||Epworth||4:12|
|Target deluxe edition and Japanese deluxe edition bonus tracks|
|12.||"Can't Let Go"||Adkins, Linda Perry||Perry||3:18|
|13.||"Lay Me Down"||Adkins, Jesso Jr.||Mark Ronson, Lil Silva||4:30|
|14.||"Why Do You Love Me"||Adkins, Rick Nowels||Rechtshaid||3:59|