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Just last year, at 25, I realized, for the first time, that I was going to die. Out of nowhere, my breath was snatched and mind was seized by a panic-inducing epiphany; one minute I was watching a nature documentary, the next, realizing that someday, I was going to die. Of course, it's something we as humans are all aware will happen to each of us eventually, but the sombre truth never held much weight before. As kids, and up through our early twenties, most people feel partially untouchable. Immortal, even. Our youthful optimism protects us from the grim facts of life. But eventually, slipping suddenly into our adulthood, life's impending certainties devour that. Sometimes in epiphanies. Sometimes in tragedies. But always in experience. At 25, I had my quarter life crisis, battling my own transition into my adult identity. A place where remorse surfaces, confusion follows and nostalgia lives. By 25, most people have had their first heartbreak, known someone who's passed, felt the pangs of regret, watched our parents' hair turn grey, loathed a job and worried about money. Some moments joyful and some devastating. But what's more disheartening - experiencing the depth of life's grim realities or not having lived enough to experience them at all?

On 25, Adele's long-awaited album, she questions this too by laying it all bare. "I feel like my life is flashing by and all I can do is watch and cry," the famed Tottenham-singer's textured voice belts over sparse, guitar-led production on the album's most raw record, 'Million Years Ago'. "Life was a party to be thrown, but that was a million years ago." At 25, the private pain is heartbreaking and relatable. This nostalgic and even repentant reminiscence from pop's most effortless vocalist, hovers over the album's entirety, despite the beloved singer's current stability in her life and dominance in her career; the matriarch of both. She's a new mother and at 27 now, returns to the top of the charts following a three-year hiatus with a simple greeting that shattered records, garnering a million digital sales and a billion video hits in just one week. "Hello, it's me." Haunting, like a welcomed ghost.

Through 11 effortlessly sophisticated and deeply-layered torch songs, Adele's powerful vocals glide between thunderous roars and rib-cracking falsettos over large dramatic piano swells to fuzzy, warm lower-register rumblings. Ballads are bold and demanding ('Remedy', 'When We Were Young' and 'Love In The Dark'), and while some may call them predictable for the dynamic award-winner - if not Adele, than currently, who? Who can even attempt it like she can? Elegant, earth-shattering vocal theatrics are what we came to hear. They're what we've been waiting three years for. And they're what she's delivered in rich-textured excess. Unforeseen choral revelations balance predictability though through Adele's raw delivery, where minimal engineering wipes away the gloss, leaving her vocal idiosyncrasies to crackle, croak and coo, bringing more depth to each number. With a voice so naturally luxurious and powerfully paranormal, Adele humbly highlights her human.

Through blockbuster hits like the pop-infused Max Martin-produced 'Send My Love (To Your New Lover) - based on a skeleton of a song Adele wrote at the age of 13, inspired by Amy Winehouse - and gospel-inspired 'River Lea', dedicated to her hometown, Adele has elegantly captured the epitome of timeless relatability in her willingness to open up her soul for consumption. She's scared of getting older. She misses her family. She misses her childhood. She regrets. She reminisces. She struggles with letting go of the past and worries about the future. But where Adele finds a newfound strength is in her fresh role as a mother. On piano-accompanied ballad 'Remedy', she sweetly sings to her son Angelo in a touching declaration. "Come whatever, I'll be the shelter that won't let the rain come through." And on the album-closer 'Sweetest Devotion', Adele's transparency and the opus' epic expansive pop dramatics reach their peak. Angelo's momentary voice is heard before a twangy country guitar offers the perfect palate for Adele to divulge her old soul in a love song for her growing boy. "The sweetest emotion, hit me like an explosion. All of my life I've been frozen," her voice reaches power chords that echo even after the album ends. The song's impact, even longer.

25 is a saviour record for a quarter life crisis, a sing-a-long for one of life's most difficult stages. While one of the world's most talented voices questions her purpose, her past and her future, may we feel a little more comforted while we do the same.

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