Adele is now three albums deep into what may be a decades-spanning career, with a trio of records that each represent a time in life. “19,” with the portend-of-things-to-come hit “Chasing Pavements,” sees a young woman just growing into her own, talking about love and relationships through the eyes of her influences. “21” picks up with the singer trying to find her way back to normalcy from a major heartbreak. And “25” is the sound of a twenty-something realizing that life may be too short to burn so many bridges, a “make-up record” as Adele herself has called it.
Watching an artist grow and change over a career is always a thrill, especially when said artist can blow the roof off of any venue with just her voice. And thanks to her autobiographical streak, we even have a road map with which to follow along. If her album pattern continues, we’re looking forward to the following stages of Adele’s career.
“29” — Adele’s next album moves her away from the pop balladry that has been her trademark, instead enlisting Diplo and Skrillex, back together under their Jack U moniker, to turn her into a dancehall diva — just in time for her quarter-life crisis. “I just feel like I wanted to do something different,” we imagine her saying. “I mean, do I want to sing sad songs my entire life?“
“34” — Adele welcomed her first child, Angelo, into the world when the singer was 24 years old, and just this year teared up while performing with the tyke in the audience for the first time. But of course, kids don’t stay cute forever, and by the time that “34” hits record stores, she’ll be knee-deep in tween parenting. The album’s lead single “Left Behind” will sound like one of her patented break-up songs, but will really be inspired by the world’s worst parent-teacher conference.
“38” — Adele is a Tottenham Hotspur fan, having grown up in the city, but by the time this album rolls around she’ll likely be watching current stars like Harry Kane and Eric Dier, players just a little bit younger than her, retire. Accordingly, “38” will feature songs with titles like “Creeping Sense of Mortality” and “Why Does It Hurt? (When I Get Out of Bed).”
“49” — The nest is empty and middle age is in full swing, which puts Adele in a reflective mood. As such, “49” is actually a song-for-song rerecording of “19,” her debut, with new arrangements and the world-weary voice of someone who survived the wars. Bonus tracks include: “I Can’t Believe I Cared About That Idiot” and a Peggy Lee cover, “Is That All There Is?“