THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0373 -- Pictured: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Adele's on the cover of Time, and the photo and interview are equally flawless. One of the biggest topics that pops off the page is the 25 empress' opinions about the music business, being a "brand" and how her contemporaries (does Adele have contemporaries?) navigate it all. "It makes me sound like a fabric softener," she says of the B-word, "or a packet of crisps. I’m not that." Here's her hashing it out:

“I’m not throwing shade at anybody, but when you have a six-month build up, don’t expect me to be there the day your album comes out, because I’m bored. It doesn’t matter how amazing it is. You put seven songs out. I’ve heard the album. I’ve heard everything you want to say about it. I’ve heard it all over radio. Don’t expect me to not lose interest before it’s even happened.”

She's not sure how she's found herself in a position where she can do anything and nobody will get bored, though. (For the record, she did almost zero buildup to 25, which sold 3.38 million units in its first week, vaulting miles and miles ahead of the 15-year-old record.) “It’s a bit ridiculous. I’m not even from America. Maybe they think I’m related to the Queen. Americans are obsessed with the royal family.” (Right before that last sentence, she "sets down her cup of tea, brightening," says writer Sam Lansky.)

Part of her approach to fame is the insistence that "you have to be a whole package":

"I feel like some artists—and this isn’t shading any artist, just me trying to come up with my own explanation—the bigger they get, the more horrible they get, and the more unlikable. And I don’t care if you make an amazing album—if I don’t like you, I ain’t getting your record. I don’t want you being played in my house if I think you’re a bastard.”

Other lovely bits include the moment where she fawns over her son remarkably beautifully: "I can’t wait to know who his best friends are going to be, who his girlfriend or his boyfriend is going to be or what movies he likes… Whatever my kid wants to do or be I will always support him no matter what.”

And she really did want to duet with Beyoncé on 25, no matter what gossip rags printed. “Whoever started that rumor must have been having a laugh," she says, "because anyone who knows me knows that my main priority in life outside of my child is Beyoncé."

We'll leave you with an assurance for her upcoming ultra-batch of tour dates: “I’m not just going to stand there! I really would like to fly through the arena for the beginning, but no one’s having it.”

Read Time's Q&A with Adele here.