Adele's album '25' has sold more albums in a week than any other artist ever (probably)

Holy shitsnacks, Adele’s ’25’ has sold a buttload of albums

December 02, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

The numbers are in, and it turns out that Adele has sold so, so, so many albums over the last week. Like, 3.38 million albums.

That’s, as they say in the business, yuuuuuuuuuge. Like, more albums than No Strings Attached sold in a week yuuuuuuuuuuge.1 Like, the most albums ever sold in a week since Nielsen started counting point-of-sale purchases back in 1991 yuuuuuuuuuuge.

25 is already the best selling album of 2015, kicking its arabic-numeraled peer album Taylor Swift’s 1989 to the curb like so many of Adele’s lovers once did to her. According to MarketWatch, Adele’s record accounted for 41% of all album sales in the U.S., and 48% of all digital album sales.

So why is this album so obscenely popular?

Well, for one, Adele pulled a Tay Tay and decided not to stream her album on Spotify or the struggling Apple music. It’s a smart move, and one that only a mega star like Adele can afford to do. She’s a known quantity, one that people actively want to consume, allowing her to funnel what amounts to the entire population of Iowa into the crusty sales machinery of the music industry over the course of 7 days.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Adele is a once-in-a-generation vocal talent. Her distinctive voice and unmatched delivery is untouchable in the current pop landscape, and on 25 she’s surrounded with the best studio production you can find in the business. Adele’s voice is like a white, less soulful or interesting version of Aretha’s, or a straighter and less audacious Barbra Streisand — she’s safer, blander, broader in sound and appeal, and all of those qualities mix perfectly with her ginormous sound on 25.

Most importantly, it’s clear while listening to 25 that Adele is timeless, and not just musically. On the album, Adele sounds like a woman literally without time. She’s a goddamn 25-year-old, but it seems like the only songs she knows how to sings are vaguely nostalgic ones of remembrance and loss, as if she was a 55-year-old widow whose two sons died in some nameless war. Sure, she’s got a kid and a husband now, and she’s lived probably the equivalent of most people’s youth between the release of 19 up to now, but how much can a 25-year-old fondly look back on and remember in their adult lives besides unpaid internships and a time when all of your friends were located in one metropolitan area?

But that timelessness plays to Adele’s favor, broadening her appeal to listeners of all ages with lyrics vague and mournful (yet still upbeat) enough to make them applicable to any listener. And in Adele’s case, as we learned this week, she’s got a lot of goddamn listeners.