A is for Adele. It also stands for anomaly, if you listen to the quiet ­rationalizing coming out of some record-label circles about why the jaw-dropping success of 25 is an essentially unrepeatable phenomenon. Every few years, the ­thinking goes, we get a coffee-table album - an outlier disc that the grown-up, generally non-record-buying population has to have - and Adele's album is just a Come Away With Me or O Brother, Where Art Thou? writ particularly large and front-loaded.

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