She had us at “Hello.” And there are 10 more immortal anthems where that came from on Adele’s much-anticipated third triumph of an album, which starts taking over the universe today!

“Adele’s agonizing broken heart still aches as she tries to find never ending closure with someone who tore her apart & it makes for an epic soundtrack. Blown away.”

There’s only one artist whose return, after a nearly-five year absence, is powerful enough to tilt pop culture on its axis like this – which can make it hard to bring the expectations for her new third album, 25, back down to human scale. The singer herself has already said in numerous interviews that she would be crazy to try to match the astonishing success of 2011’s 21, the sophomore knockout that went on to sell more than 30 million copies and saturate pop culture so thoroughly that the final notes of “Someone Like You” are probably still ricocheting off the surface of some distant planet.

Instead, she’s made a record that feels both new and familiar—a beautiful if safe collection of panoramic ballads and prettily executed detours. The album opener and lead single, “Hello,” is one of the most 21-esque tracks here: a lush, skyscraping anthem with goosebumps in every note. (Unsurprisingly, it’s also a smash; no other song this year sold faster.)

The songs that follow are just as good, if not better!

The wildly anticipated third release delivers what all Adele fans want — big vocals, ballads (heartbroken and otherwise) and the classic soundscape, culled from vintage pop and soul music. Technically, Adele has already made this album, two times over. She’s swept us off our feet before, stirred our souls so powerfully that 25 is not collectively as game-changing as some might want it to be.

But interestingly enough, Adele knows something & holds more power than most artists…

She made a decision early on to withhold her third album, from streaming services Spotify and Apple Music when it is released just after midnight Friday.

Streaming services haven’t been told if or when the full album will be available for streaming.

“We love and respect Adele, as do her 24 million fans on Spotify. We hope that she will give those fans the opportunity to enjoy 25 on Spotify alongside 19 and 21 very soon,” Spotify said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to offer Adele’s new album, ’25,’ for purchase on iTunes. Her soulful new single, “Hello”, is available to stream on Apple Music along with her entire catalog and her revealing interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1,” an Apple Music spokeswoman said in an email.

Billboard reported last night that the album could break a longstanding sales record held by N’SYNC, who sold 2.4 million of their 2000 album, “No Strings Attached,” in its first week. Columbia is reportedly shipping 3.6 million units of “25″ to retailers.

Adele isn’t the first artist to withhold new albums from streaming services. Last year, Taylor Swift withheld “1989” from Spotify and planned to do the same earlier this year with Apple Music before reversing course. Other artists release their new albums to streaming services including, just last week, Justin Bieber and One Direction.

The hundreds of words already written here not withstanding, there’s something about 25 that resists analyzing. Its lyrics and stylistic flourishes strive much more for simplicity than singularity, so in some ways it can be strange to watch such frenzied energy surround an artist who offers herself so transparently.

Grab the tissues, a glass of wine (maybe coffee with the early release) & reminisce about that person that made eye contact with you, while boarding a bus, 5 years ago…

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About the Author

Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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