For the past few years, Adele has been engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with fans.
Whenever the singer posts seemingly benign comments regarding her career, memories and health regime, fans pounce and inquire if a new album was on the way.
Not one to play the enigmatic card, Adele immediately douses the chatter with an equal mix of wit and bite. One fan found this out in July when suggesting Adele's throwback image of her 2016 Glastonbury Festival performance was a teaser image for a new album.
“Of course it's not. Corona ain't over,” she replied. “I'm quarantining. Wear a mask and be patient.”
While the pandemic is still ongoing, there are now clear signs Adele is making her way back into the limelight. On Saturday, October 24, she will host the US television comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Viewed by the entertainment industry as an influential platform, the show has welcomed countless stars over the years, from Lady Gaga to Kanye West, to debut live performances of latest works.
Now, if a new song is indeed released this weekend, then expect a new album to come relatively quickly. Not only is it good timing to capitalise on the lucrative Christmas period, but it also mirrors the roll-out campaign of Adele's previous 2015 album, 25.
Trailed by media appearances, the album went on to sell more than 23 million copies worldwide. So, if the strategy worked, there's no need to fix it.
Here are three other things we know about her coming album.
1. There will be no more numbered titles, and she may just call it 'Adele'
A hallmark of Adele’s past releases is that they are titled after her age when they were unveiled.
This is not a stylistic quirk. By calling her 2008 debut 19, and follow-ups 21 and 25, released in 2011 and 2015 respectively, the titles indicated the albums were time capsules, documenting what Adele was going through at the time.
Well, the digits will be dropped this time around for what could be her namesake. In a rare insight about the album provided by the singer, she said she has outgrown the idea.
"I feel like how I feel about myself is maybe how I'll feel for ever now," she told Zane Lowe in a 2015 interview on Apple Music.
"I feel like the idea of calling albums after my age is showing a photograph almost of what’s going on in my life then and there. I feel like not that much is going to change profoundly in me from now on in terms of how important eras of my life are to myself. So I think the next one will probably be called Adele. It will be, I’m not joking.”
2. It will be upbeat
Don't expect a dour album inspired by her 2019 divorce. According to several reports, Adele will dance through the pain with an upbeat collection of pop ditties and club bangers.
With comments attributed to music industry insiders, US magazine People and British tabloid The Sun reported the album will have a euphoric feel. "She is definitely getting ready both mentally and physically to promote new music. It seems it will happen later this year," People wrote. The Sun stated the record will be "optimistic, reflective of the good times and about learning to move on from them and make new memories by yourself".
3. It will feature the work of pop music’s elite
Work on the new album began last year, with Adele reportedly criss-crossing the Atlantic for studio sessions in London and New York. A number of A-list music names are said to have joined her on these sessions, including producers Mark Ronson (Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus), Raphael Saadiq (John Legend) and Greg Wells (Katy Perry and Twenty One Pilots).
One Republic frontman and songwriter Ryan Tedder officially confirmed his participation. This is not entirely surprising as he co-wrote Adele 2011's smash hit Rumour Has It.
In an interview with the British press in March, Tedder teased Adele was sounding better than ever. He also stated she kept all collaborators on a short leash when it comes to discussing the project.
This may explain rapper Nicki Minaj's panicked reaction after initially posting about teaming up with Adele last October. "Adele made me swear to secrecy that I'm not allowed to tell anyone that I'm working with her," she said. "We already shot a video. And it's an epic song."
Minaj attempted to walk back the revelation days later by suggesting she was being sarcastic. Some fans didn't buy it.