REVIEW: Adele returns to the music scene with ‘30’

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Courtesy Spotify

Assistant News Editor Riya Mahanta and Assistant Opinion Editor Katherine Wu review songs from Adele’s fourth studio album “30” which was released on Nov. 19.

Riya Mahanta and Katherine Wu

Adele explores a new style and exceeds the expectations of fans in highly anticipated fourth studio album, “30”, released Nov. 19. 

Fans have been waiting for Adele to drop new music for almost six years now, since her last album release of “25” in 2015.  According to CNN, her comeback album became the top-selling album of 2021 in the US and UK, and still continues to break records. It is said to be a healing and reflection album, following the divorce from her husband Simon Konecki.

The album’s first track, “Strangers By Nature,” has a very vintage feel to it, like it could be featured in an old Disney movie. The song opens up with “I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart,” and continues with the analogy between her heart being the cemetery filled with her past and present lovers. The song doesn’t have much versatility, but it makes for a good intro as one is left intrigued, wondering what more is on the album.

“Easy On Me,” was released Oct. 15 as a single and topped the charts in 23 countries, including the US Billboard Hot 100, where it currently rests at second on its sixth week in the chart. Adele gets vulnerable in the emotional ballad, with lyrics like “Go easy on me, baby. I was still a child; didn’t get the chance to feel the world around me.” Adele’s deep voice and smooth tone conveys her emotion perfectly. The single is the most similar to Adele’s previous work, as she is best known for her ballads, but it still provides the classic awe of Adele.

While Adele is vulnerable throughout a lot of the songs on this album, “My Little Love” is the most raw and emotional one. The “little love” refers to her six-year old son, Angelo Adkins, from her marriage to Konecki. The song expressed Adele’s feelings and frustrations regarding her divorce, and how she struggled to explain it to her son. The song features voice memos of Adele’s thoughts as well as Adkins voice as well. The voice memos allow one to understand what Adele was going through as they can hear her breaking down.

The fifth, sixth and seventh tracks, “Oh My God,” “Can I Get It,” and “I Drink Wine” also happen to be our favorites, although they each have distinctive sounds. “Oh My God” is reminiscent of Adele’s first album, “19.” The tempo is more upbeat and Adele adds texture to her voice, which truly shows her versatility. “Can I Get It” features upbeat verses and a light, slow chorus tied together in a clean and simple track. Despite the simplicity, listeners can understand Adele’s emotions clearly. “I Drink Wine” is another ballad, which fans describe as Adele’s anthem for self-forgiveness, self-acceptance and self-love. The track is timeless and refreshing, with lyrics anyone can relate to. 

“Cry Your Heart Out,” the fourth track, is a smooth, soulful piece with elements of older jazz artists such as Aretha Franklin. The ninth track, “Woman Like Me,” features a slower tempo and powerful lyrics. The recording is raw evidence of Adele’s growth and confidence, when she says “one more time,” and cues the band to run the verse again at the end of the song. 

The tenth track, “Hold On” contains dark lyrics, yet has a positive message: to hold on to hope no matter how challenging things may be. The track contains timeless and relatable lyrics, with a haunting tone.

The eighth song, “All Night Parking (with Eroll Garner) Interlude”, runs over a chill, lofi-like beat. The song is perfect for relaxing, as it features a bubbly piano riff. It also serves its purpose as an interlude because it falls between more of the up-beat songs and the darker, more solemn songs on the album.

“To Be Loved” is another ballad, which Adele performed on her Instagram two days before the album’s release. Again, the powerful song is not only about the vocals but also about the emotion and moving lyrics behind them. Adele’s vocals are perfectly imperfect, which makes the raw emotion and honesty even more captivating. 

The final track, “Love Is A Game,” tied the album to a close. The song has a classic, old-school feel to it and Adele’s R&B and jazz influences fit perfectly with her voice. The recording is sophisticated and unmistakably Adele. 

In CBS’s “Adele One Night Only” which aired Nov. 14, Adele performed some new songs as well as some old songs. The special also included an interview with Oprah, where Adele revealed something rather surprising; her ex-husband lives across the street from her! Adele and Konecki are still friends, and although Adele doesn’t regret divorcing him, she is forever grateful for him. 

“30” only further proves Adele’s talent to connect with any audience through her refined vocals and lyrics. We’re hopeful for what Adele may have in store for the future, and we know it will be worth the wait. 

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