Album Review: Adele’s 30


Kristopher Harris

After six years, Adele’s godly vocals have blessed us once again. 

Jillian Rowell, Staff Writer

After six years, Adele’s godly vocals have blessed us once again. 

Her newest album, released November 19 and titled 30, keeps in line with her previous ones that are similarly titled by ages, and it shows off her range both vocally and genre-wise. Many of the tracks are extremely different, the instrumentals ranging from an almost-harsh piano to a soft guitar with lyrics focussing mainly on different aspects of the singer’s “divorce, babe, divorce”, as she said in her first Instagram Live. Each song has a different tone, going from whimsical to dramatic to melancholic and back again.

In an industry and genre where the same artists make the same music and are expected to do so, Adele ignores the expectations of what pop should be and shows us what it is: a fun, versatile expression of experiences and emotions that changes as you do, just like most music. It’s why her songs don’t quite fit under the definition we associate with the genre; Adele almost forms a whole other set of criteria just for her and her unique brand of music.

Now, it’s important to note that I have never heard an Adele album in its entirety before this one, but this album made me want to listen to her entire discography.

The first lyric of the album is “I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart”, which really sets the tone for the rest of the tracks. The instrumentals backing her beautiful, beautiful vocals are akin to those found in a classic Disney movie and make the listener feel wistful, transported to some sort of magical bliss.

The third track, “My Little Love”, includes some conversations between Adele and her nine-year-old son Angelo, as well as a voice memo of herself speaking about the loneliness and other feelings that she began experiencing in the aftermath of her divorce. Each understated, soft-sounding conversation is offset by stronger vocals à la Harry Styles’ “Cherry”.

As I listened to the album for the first time and got to track 11, “To Be Loved”, the chorus immediately reminded me of what it would sound like if Celine Dion sang Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time”. The emotion and strength found in Celine Dion paired with the style and vocal embellishment reminiscent of Ariana Grande is juxtaposed by lyrics and composition entirely unique to Adele and her experiences with divorce as she reminisces on what was and owns up to her reasoning.

The amount of respect I have for Adele for making music this vulnerable and raw is astonishing. It’s rare to truly respect people you’ve never met and barely know, but the fact that this album includes her crying, talking to her child, and telling the people listening about her feelings of anxiety and confusion surrounding her divorce and life in general is on a whole other level. I feel like we as a society often mock celebrities for how often they go through divorce, get married and date, but Adele shows the other side of it: of how she tried to avoid her divorce, and the effects it has had on both her and her son.

I’ve always admired Adele for the emotion behind her music and present in her lyrics, and this album has elevated both. It takes a lot of courage to admit to feeling lonely, being a mess, or like the one thing you thought you wanted isn’t what you thought it would be, let alone to actual strangers, and it’s even harder to translate those admittances and feelings of inadequacy into cohesive lyrics set to good music. This album was vulnerable, bold, and absolutely stunning, and I applaud her for that.