I suppose it’s not that big of a shock that Adele’s 25 is only the biggest album in the country right now. Her last album, 21, took the world by storm only a couple of years ago. And Hello became the most watched YouTube video in a matter of days. But reviewers were hesitant to say 25 would be as big as 21. After all, there weren’t any tracks like “Rumor Has It,” with a deep angry drum beat to break up the sad and soft pop. But apparently that wasn’t a stumbling block. As of today, Adele’s newest album has broken the single week album sales record, which was held by ‘NSYNC. The fact of the matter is, most industry watchers assumed those single week sales records late 90s early 2000s records that were held by NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys respectively were simply going to stand forever due to the deep music industry crash that followed, from which it has never recovered.
Why does Adele sell like this? There’s a level of super savvy marketing going on that makes us believe that Adele is somehow less processed and less bubblegum pop than her fellow Katy Perrys and Lady Gagas. But Adele is working with the same people, such as Max Martin, Bruno Mars and Dangermouse.
Part of it is for the reason you’re seeing live performances of her songs here and not YouTube clips. Adele’s people have locked her stuff down tight. She is not streaming on Spotify, she is not available on Apple music. You buy her album, or you don’t hear her songs. Period. I would have loved, for instance to post “River Lea” here, but it’s not available. Fans who uploaded it to YouTube find themselves with lyrics running against silence as her people enforce the copyright infringement laws.
But then again, it’s the live performances that keep Adele legendary. After all, what do we want but proof of authenticity? And Adele’s live performances are about as authentic as it gets.