Adele
30


3.7
great

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
November 22nd, 2021 | 72 replies


Release Date: 11/19/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: 30. So much more than 25.

For Adele, whose life outside of music has become as much an integral feature as the soaring pipes that gave her fame, fans could’ve very well seen 30 coming a way off. This is because 30 is a divorce record; unapologetic and raw to the tune of what could possibly be Adele’s greatest studio performance to date. What is to be questioned however is where exactly does 30 stack within Adele’s lengthening catalogue? While it’s no secret that the British-born songstress has taken inspiration from her relationship woes over the years, with tracks from both 25 and 21 featuring a few shots at past lovers and the like, 30 however is a complete outlet and the topic of Adele’s divorce swallows the new record almost completely. This is the new record’s strength and weakness; balancing openness with vulnerability, honesty with optimism. By her own admission, 30 isn’t a divorce album, Adele sticking instead to motifs of rediscovery. Personally, I’m most certainly convinced that it’s both.

That’s not to say that Adele has found the rainbows through the rain clouds that must hamper almost every waking day in England. Rather 30 tackles big feelings head-on, cringe and all. Honesty becomes a focal point even as Adele belts out some big new tunes. “Strangers By Nature” immediately sets the tone for where the rest of the album’s hour would take its listeners. Adele gently caresses her opening lines and lyrics such as “I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart”, giving no indication that there’s a moment of empowerment to come. The lead single, “Easy On Me” continues in theme, sorry-for-yourself vibes soar infectious hooks and masterful vocal control. For Adele has that in spades. Naturally the track itself boasts Adele’s huge range, deliberately drawing out the hook in the chorus for maximum effect, but there’s growth here and 30 sees better performances than what’s come before it. With this in mind it’s to be expected: Adele’s vocal prowess is centre stage.

“My Little Love”, is seemingly sung to Adele’s son Angelo while confessing her faults. Lyrically it’s clear that Adele’s life has shifted (her son and self being the more prominent beneficiaries of her divorce), but where 25 and 21 leaned heavily into pop fuelled ballads 30 is a bold, ambitious stroke that brings together Adele’s natural, undeniable talents into the moments of pure frankness where she discusses her “big feelings”, mentioning confusion and lack of direction. It’s something this album is a contrast to, because even as Adele’s personal life goes through an upheaval—30 is processed, focused and clear in its heading. These candid recordings with Angelo are just the start of the ‘uncomfortable’ listening experiences peppered throughout the record, more so when Adele lays out a more vulnerable state of mind through late track audio clips a la “I Drink Wine”. Adele confesses to feeling “alone” and hung-over, implications for professional help just waiting in the wings. More poignant moments are found in the lyricism: “Why am I obsessing about the things I can't control? Why am I seeking approval from people I don't even know?” Big feelings and even bigger questions.

Even as we circle back a few tracks, 30 isn’t a complete dread and despair album. Hidden amongst the woe and apologetic moods are Rn’B style pop hits like “Oh My God” which stride into being like splashes of neon in a dark alley. Likewise the piano touches found during “To Be Loved” are sure to set some hearts alight and despite Adele’s all-encompassing, dominant vocal display the track should be considered 30’s centrepoint. Adele’s lyrics take on a life of their own; vibrato cutting through the hammer of keys with abandon. It might be the highlight the record needs, it’s just held back by the sadness around it, shimmering under the weight of the album’s larger motifs.

30 might need a bit of unloading and a casual listener should be forgiven for not investing in Adele’s marriage woes and as such, the candid audio clips where Adele tries explaining things will perhaps be an unwelcome addition to the formula. That aside, there’s a lot one could take away from Adele’s newest record. 30 might not be a true divorce album, lacking the fire and blame game attitudes that we could assume from a modern pop record—it is however a frank, candid unloading from a person experiencing some real feelings. Something to which we can relate to, at least in part. 30 might not have been the cleanest of breakups, but it more than translates in lyrical form. Maybe in a few years we’ll be hearing “Hello (from the other side) Part 2.”



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user ratings (99)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Welcome back, Adele; it’s nice to hear your voice again....

Brandon Taylor (3.5)
"Let it be known, let it be known that I tried"...

ghostalgeist (4)
I created this storm, it's only fair I have to sit in its rain....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Not to take away from Brendan but here's another Adele review by the staffer probably least likely to write it.

Digging: Obscura - A Valediction

Asdfp277
November 22nd 2021


23639 Comments


not read the review yet but i have to comment: i like 'easy on me' a lot

Digging: Squalus - The Great FIsh...

LeddSledd
November 22nd 2021


6564 Comments


30? more like 500,000 amirite

Get Low
November 22nd 2021


11380 Comments


I've never seen a contributor get cucked so fast by a staff writer in all my time on this website.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

So you didn't have an account in the period of 2011 to 2015?

Get Low
November 22nd 2021


11380 Comments


Thankfully not.

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


12395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I've never seen a contributor get cucked so fast by a staff writer in all my time on this website."



1. Nah, this has happened all the time (including the Colors II review earlier)



2. I already knew Robert was gonna post his review after mine :]

Get Low
November 22nd 2021


11380 Comments


If I were in your position I'd be raging but I guess that's the difference between us.

ghostalgeist
November 22nd 2021


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

reminds me of when that happened to ghostalgeist on the silk sonic review

oh yeah : ' )

Koris
Contributing Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


12395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heh, I noticed that one too. Sowing was quick, lol

ghostalgeist
November 22nd 2021


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

his writeup on silk was good enough that God was willing to let it slide

DDDeftoneDDD
November 22nd 2021


19431 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is was ok af

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Necro and I had a chat like adults and he knew there was going to be a few hours between posts. Adding to that I’ve shared features with contributors when we’ve doubled up (Darkthrone just for an example) and hold a more the merrier stance.

Coldplaz
November 22nd 2021


145 Comments


>I Drink Wine
Looks like she knows her audience

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Me too Adele, me too.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

--Silk Sonic had Kompys' redemption arc so idk, no complaining

Someone copypaste this comment so I can immediately bail out of this thread forever thank u--



No you. Oh wait.

brandontaylor
November 22nd 2021


1110 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good take on the album, and i like that second paragraph a lot. i find the 'big feelings' theme pretty endearing

ghostalgeist
November 22nd 2021


622 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

adele's shamelessness when approaching those feelings is wonderful imo

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
November 22nd 2021


15681 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Thanks my guy.

Tunaboy45
November 22nd 2021


17672 Comments


she peaked with Rolling in the Deep, after that it's dross all the way down

Digging: Every Time I Die - Radical



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