Adele’s untitled fourth studio album is the follow-up album to her 2015 release, 25. Originally expected to be released in September 2020, the album has been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now expected to be released in 2021.
At a show in Belfast during her Adele Live 2016 tour, Adele mentioned the possibility of debuting new material toward the tour’s conclusion, indicating a potentially shorter break between albums, though this never came to fruition. She did, however, record a studio version of her arrangement of George Michael’s “Fastlove” that was rumored to be released in December of 2017. Though a snippet of the recording appeared in George Michael: Freedom, a documentary dedicated to the late musician, the full recording was never released.
In the program for the finale dates of her 2016–2017 world tour at Wembley Stadium, Adele revealed that she may never tour again. She initially had four concerts planned at the venue, which were rumored to be used for a tour DVD, but the final two performances were cancelled after Adele suffered damage to her vocal cords. Her agent Lucy Dickins later released a statement to Music Week, reassuring reporters that Adele’s statement on her touring future was not definitive.
In March 2019, Adele visited a drag bar in New York with friend Jennifer Lawrence, during which she told those in attendance, “I’m working,” presumably in reference to new music. A few days later, she was spotted entering a recording studio in New York, seemingly confirming reports that she was working on a new album.
The following month, Adele announced her separation from husband Simon Konecki, prompting speculation that their breakup would inspire new music. On her 31st birthday, Adele seemingly alluded to these rumors in a post on Instagram: “Bunch of fucking savages, 30 will be a drum and bass record to spite you.” The Sun later reported that Adele’s fourth album would be more upbeat, including an uptempo song that was being considered for her comeback single.
Reports in November 2020 indicated that Adele had returned to London to finish work on her fourth studio album.
Shortly after the conclusion of her tour, it was rumored that Adele’s fourth studio album would be delayed because she was “too happy.” In July 2018, reports indicated that Adele had begun work on the album and was aiming for a Christmas 2019 release. The following month, Roger Friedman of Showbiz411 — who previously broke news regarding Adele’s recording of both “Skyfall” and “Fastlove” — reported that she was eyeing a 2019 release date for her next album. A later report claimed that enough progress was being made on the album for it to be released earlier than anticipated, specifically mentioning summer 2019, but reiterated that it would ultimately be completed on Adele’s own terms.
In January 2019, Hits Daily Double teased Adele’s potentially forthcoming return to music. The cover story for People’s September 16, 2019 issue was an exclusive report claiming that Adele was “getting ready both mentally and physically to promote new music,” which would most likely be released later in the year. The following year, Hits Daily Double reported that there were industry rumors of Adele’s return to music in 2020.
In a January 2020 interview, Lucy and Jonathan Dickins confirmed new music from Adele should be expected later in the year. While performing at her best friend Laura Dockrill’s wedding, Adele said the album would be released in September. However, Dickins later retracted these statements, confirming that work on the album had been delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adele reaffirmed this in a comment on Instagram after being asked about an imminent album release, writing, “Of course it’s not [being released yet]. Corona ain’t over. I’m quarantining. Wear a mask and be patient.”
In October 2020, Friedman reported that Adele would be releasing a new single soon, with a new album to follow in mid-November, mirroring 25's release schedule. The same week, Adele confirmed she would be hosting the October 24 episode of Saturday Night Live, reinvigorating fans’ hope that new music would be imminent. However, during the episode, Adele confirmed that her fourth studio album was not yet finished. She later hinted via an Instagram post that she would be returning to music in 2021, which was further teased by an Instagram post from Sony Music Germany on December 31. Hits Daily Double seemingly validated this, revealing that Adele was likely to use the Grammy Awards on January 31, 2021 as the launchpad for her forthcoming fourth studio album. Soon after this report, the Grammys were postponed until March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, creating uncertainty as to when Adele would make her comeback; these rumors were later dispelled by Grammys producer Ben Winston.
Comedian Alan Carr, a close friend of Adele’s, hinted that the album would be released in 2021, describing the material he has heard from the album as “amazing” during an interview with Grazia UK.
Early on in the promotion for 25, Adele revealed that she planned to stop naming albums after her age:
|“||I feel like how I feel about myself is maybe how I’ll feel forever now. I changed my opinions on things, changed my feelings of myself and other people and stuff. But I feel like the idea of calling albums after my age is showing a photograph almost of what’s going on in my life then and there. I feel like not that much is going to change profoundly in me from now on in terms of how important eras of my life are to myself. So I think the next one will probably be called Adele. It will be, I’m not joking.||”|
On her 31st birthday, Adele published a rare social media post in which she jokingly referred to her next album as 30, referring to the theme of her previous three albums’ titles.
Possible songs and collaborations
During the conception of 25, Adele wrote enough material for what she claimed could be three or four albums. She later revealed that she had four or five songs that she might revisit at a later date, among them a Greg Kurstin-contributed song that she felt was more appropriate once she was older.
|“||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 albums, 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.”
Additionally, collaborations with Paul Epworth and Greg Wells, titled “Saviour” and “Devil on My Shoulder,” respectively, have been considered for future release after both were cut from 21.
In April 2019, there were reports that Adele had been seen at singer Taylor Swift’s house with recording equipment, fueling speculation that they were collaborating on new music. A source close to Swift later denied the reports. However, on July 2, 2021, a song penned by Swift and Adele under the title “Broken Hearts” (alternatively titled “Shattered Hearts”) was registered through the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC), prompting speculation that it would be released either on Adele’s next studio album or Swift’s forthcoming re-recording of her 2012 album Red, titled Red (Taylor’s Version).
According to a report from The Sun, Adele has already had studio sessions with returning collaborators Mark Ronson, Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth and Jim Abbiss for her forthcoming album. Tedder later seemingly confirmed rumors that he had been in the studio with Adele, teasing, “I’ll just say that she sounds better than ever.”
In December 2020, drummer Matt Chamberlin — who previously worked with Adele during recording sessions for 25 — confirmed that he had recently been in the studio with her for her fourth studio album, calling her new material “powerful and emotive.” He also revealed that she was working with songwriter Rick Nowels, with whom she previously wrote “Why Do You Love Me” for the deluxe edition of 25.
- Brawl breaks out at Adele concert | Toronto Sun
- Nozzaaaaaa on Twitter: "Said on the radio today she is releasing it in December 😊… "
- Adele: ‘I Don’t Know If I’ll Ever Tour Again’ – Rolling Stone
- Adele cancels final shows after hinting she’s done touring – CNN
- Adele’s agent speaks out on her touring future – ‘Let her enjoy life’ | Music | Entertainment | Express.co.uk
- Adele Teases Comeback: "I'm Working" – That Grape Juice
- Adele Spotted Going Incognito at Recording Studio | PEOPLE.com
- Rep: Adele, husband Simon Konecki have separated — Associated Press
- Adele Got Candid About Her Tough Year And Announced New Music In A Beautiful Instagram Post — BuzzFeed
- Adele is swerving trademark ballads and relaunching her career with an up-tempo ‘banger’ about her divorce – The Sun
- Super agent Lucy Dickins talks breaking artists | Live | Music Week
- Adele returns to London as she puts finishing touches on her long-awaited fourth album | The Sun
- Adele is too happy to write her new album | Metro News
- Hello singer Adele starts work on songs for her first album in three years
- Record Biz Chaos: Sony’s Columbia Records, Hitless for Most of the Year, Pays Millions to Unknown Rapper, Loses a Top Exec | Showbiz411
- 2019 to be Adele of a year | Daily Star
- Richard Russell on Adele's future and what it takes to get signed to XL Recordings – NME
- HITS Daily Double: Rumor Mill – THE BRITISH ARE COMING
- Inside Adele's Life After Divorce — and Plans for New Music | PEOPLE.com
- HITS Daily Double : Rumor Mill - A MASSIVE YEAR ON THE HORIZON?
- Dickins family talk Adele at Eurosonic Noorderslag music conference | Talent | Music Week
- Adele Says Fans Can Expect a New Album in September | PEOPLE.com | PEOPLE.com
- Jonathan Dickins talks music in lockdown | Management | Music Week
- Adele wore her Glastonbury Festival dress to watch it and needs you to calm down about a new album - CNN
- Ariana Grande Says She Can’t Wait to “Give” Us Her New Album This Month, And Adele? It’s 5 Years Since “25” | Showbiz411
- Adele on Instagram: “Bloooooody hellllll I’m so excited about this!! And also absolutely terrified! My first ever hosting gig and for SNL of all things!!!! I’ve…”
- Adele Monologue - SNL - YouTube
- Adele on Instagram: “Had the best time on SNL! Thank you to the most wonderful cast, crew, writers and producers. What a sublime bunch of people you are. Lorne…”
- Sony Music Germany (@sonymusicde) • Instagram photos and videos
- HITS Daily Double: Rumor Mill - BEN TO THE RESCUE? (GRAMMY UPDATE)
- 2021 Grammys face ratings and credibility challenges - Los Angeles Times
- Adele’s Close Friend Suggests Her Album Is Coming Next Month - Variety
- Adele Says She’ll Ditch Naming Albums After Her Age | Billboard
- Adele Carpool Karaoke
- 17 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Adele – Rolling Stone
- More proof that a new Adele album is on the way? - BBC Newsbeat
- Diane Warren on the GRAMMYs Red Carpet 2014 | Billboard
- Diane Warren: Adele collaborations could make it onto '25' follow-up | EW.com
- Paul Epworth on Twitter: "@dspezi1 correct on the first two. He Won't Go is the other. A track called Saviour will see the light of day at some point too I'm sure."
- Greg Wells on Twitter: "@Adele just listened to "devil on my shoulder" it's crazzzzzy fun...so good."
- Greg Wells Talks Hit 'Greatest Showman' Soundtrack, Working With Adele, Katy Perry & More: Pop Shop Podcast | Billboard
- Is A Taylor Swift & Adele Collaboration On The Way? – Idolator
- Taylor Swift, Adele NOT Collaborating On New Music, Despite Reports – Gossip Cop
- Taylor Swift and Adele Spark Rumors They Have a New Song Together | Elle
- Adele sounds ‘better than ever’ reveals collaborator OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder ahead of her comeback – The Sun
- Adele reportedly working with Raphael Saadiq on new album – NME
- Ex-Pearl Jam Drummer Talks What It Was Like Playing With David Bowie, Recalls How Bob Dylan Behaved When He Joined His Band | Music News @ UltimateGuitar.com