Adele is back! Here are our track by track thoughts on her latest album 30.
Date published: 19th Nov 2021
Adele has finally returned! The matriarch of British pop has come back with her new album 30, which comes 6 years after her last record 25. It always feels like an event when Adele releases an album and ever since rumours of a new album started earlier in the year there has been a huge level of hype. This has been backed up by over 500,000 copies of 30 on vinyl being pre-ordered, an absolutely staggering figure.
So now, we've arrived at Adele day and we get to be reminded all over again as to why she is one of the most iconic voices in modern British pop music.
Strangers By Nature
This album largely tackles Adele's divorce from Simon Konecki and you can feel the sense of devastation such a thing causes from the very first press of a note on this track. It feels like we're standing near a funeral procession, as Adele sings reflectively whilst string instrumentals swelter over her.
It's one of those songs that reaches a beautiful state in a haunting yet rousing way as the clouds begin to break apart as the track nears its end.
Easy On Me
This was the big return track, the single that launched this new era of Adele in October. It was met with praise, whilst some said that it was more of the same Adele. Whilst that is true, the stunning rises through octaves, whilst surrounded by beautiful piano instrumentation is typical Adele. Yet this does not mean that easy is a bad song at all, in fact, it's just as captivating as Adele has ever been.
My Little Love
This track feels imbued with Soul, it's the first sign of experimentation on the album. We get audio clips of Adele's son, as she declares her love for him and how he keeps her going, it's a rare glimpse into Adele's privacy as we hear her trying to explain the divorce to him.
It's a beautiful ode to parenthood, as she ponders if he can feel her past pain and heartbreak. It's an incredibly open song as we follow Adele clearly undergoing one of the most difficult periods of her life, expressing confusion and loneliness.
Cry Your Heart Out
Leaning more into R&B with this track, Adele is trying to lean into more genres that we wouldn't usually expect on 30, there's a real bounce to the melody on this one. She's clearly trying to push her sound further and has even cited influences such as Tyler, The Creator for this album. The backing vocals and mixture of slick piano key progressions make this an incredibly satisfying listen.
Oh My God
There are some fantastic vocalisations from Adele here as her high notes rise up and seemingly contort midair. The chorus feels a little odd, it's a strange feeling as she almost feels obscured from the song when she should be centre stage. It's the first sign of the experimentation maybe not doing her a favour.
In leaning in and searching for another sound, Oh My God is a bit of a jarring moment.
Can I Get It
We're greeted by the strums of acoustic guitar on this track. There's a real sense of building intensity here, as the instrumentation builds with the drumming coming in, Adele switches up the tempo completely. It takes queues from country music in some moments but we're not complaining.
It's a little bit of a curveball but the poise of Adele never falters and this new outfit of sound is a joyful diversion.
I Drink Wine
The title of this one isn't exactly subtle now is it? Yet it feels like the perfect title to summarise Adele's personality and humour. In spite of that, I Drink Wine feels as if she's standing straight in front of the mirror as she looks back on growing up and trying to move past her current predicaments.
It yearns for freedom from trying to keep on top of the things you simply cannot control, the vocal crescendos are as rousing as Adele has ever been. Songs like these are why people fell in love with Adele in the first place.
All Night Parking (With Errol Garner) Interlude
A brief interlude that features piano keys that trickle as if each note was evaporating as soon as it was played. It speaks of the loneliness of missing someone once they're gone, even the things that seem small.
Woman Like Me
This is a glimpse into turmoil, the lack of understanding, the insecurity and feeling a need to grow. All these feelings are related to the divorce and a relationship that is clearly past any return point. Adele continues to pour through the details of the breakdown and we are the passengers, it is a refreshingly open experience guided by impactful narration.
Right from the off, you can feel that this is going to be one for a tear or two. A sweeping piano ballad that makes Adele appear as an incredibly lonely figure, it puts the focus squarely on her. It's the kind of song that feels like it could have existed within any of her previous chapters.
The final third of this track enters a whole new phase, as harmonies rise out of the background and cinematic orchestrals ascend, suddenly she isn't that lonely after all. It's a show of inner strength.
To Be Loved
Yet again, Adele's vocals seem to have their own sense of gravity, it's a song that whist beautiful in its arrangements feels like ground that has been tread on before. It's the type of song that fans of Adele's classic hallmark's will enjoy, it encompasses the raw vocal power and sense of gut-wrenching emotion that people have come to love. Its final cries of "Let it be known that I tried" cuts straight through you.
Love Is A Game
The album closer is typically soaked in emotional resonance. It's the final examination of the heartbreak of divorce that has been felt throughout this album. Describing heartbreak as "inevitable", she says that love has caused her self-inflicted pain. It is a predictably cinematic ending.
Adele's 30 is a stunningly open glimpse into the inner trauma that can be caused by divorce. The voice notes within add a sense of real authenticity and as usual, this is an Adele album with the potential to emotionally ruin you. There are moments of experimentation that don't quite get pulled off but there is a clear intention to evolve as an artist. 30 is an album that is well worth a listen and was definitely worth the wait.
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