The trials and tribulations of turning 30

Adele’s exceptional return to the music industry


Photo Courtesy of Apple Music

Adele’s fourth studio album, “30,” certainly did not disappoint as it has become this year’s fastest-selling album, whilst topping music charts across the globe.

Quinn Burton, Staff Reporter

Nov. 19 marked a historic day for Adele fans across the world.  On Friday, the 33-year-old, 15-time Grammy winner released her fourth studio album, “30.” After not releasing any music since 2015, Adele’s fans, including myself, were eager to listen to her highly anticipated album. 

Following Adele’s previous albums, “30” provides a snapshot of her personal love life at that time and age. At the age of 30, Adele divorced her husband Simon Konecki. This album seemingly focuses on Adele’s personal journey throughout the divorce as opposed to brutally bashing the name of her ex. I mean the ex-husband here doesn’t catch a tenth of the fury that Adele’s ex-boyfriend from “21” did. 

Opening the album with “Strangers by Nature,” a contemplative song, I expected the rest of the album to follow this sad monotone. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse genres this album had to offer. Adele not only followed her usual contemporary pop but also tapped into R&B and hip-hop. 

The most infamous track “Easy on Me” was released previous to the album in October and became an international hit. After consistently listening to this song, I didn’t think it was possible, but her vocals have gotten even more expressive. It’s all there in the song where she pauses in the middle to linger on the first note of “easy” so long that you feel like you might pass out, even though you can tell she isn’t even breaking a sweat. This song brought the album together, whilst transitioning from Adele’s older music. 

“Easy on Me” was followed by “My Little Love,” which is most notably my favorite song from the album. This song perfectly encapsulates the love shared between Adele and her son, Angelo. The track features recorded conversations between her and her 9-year-old son and offers a behind-the-scenes listen to the mom explaining her heart-breaking divorce to Angelo. She reflects on the highs and lows and deeper meaning behind motherhood and loss. Tucked at the end is Adele’s version of rock bottom, a raw voice recording where she admits that, for the first time in years, she feels truly lonely. 

After bouncing back from “My Little Love” I didn’t expect it to get much better, but I was surely surprised. “Oh My God” brought the fire that I was desperately waiting for. As the fifth track in the album, I knew that this would be a pivotal song to peak my interest. After the grievance from the previous songs, this one was a breath of fresh air. At this point in the album, I noticed a change in confidence in Adele’s tone and performance. This song exuded the power and confidence that I hadn’t previously heard from any of her music.

Unfortunately, little can help the sixth track “Can I Get It,” which was completely out-of-place. Opposed to the other contemporary pop tracks this song was replaced with an upbeat country-like feel. The upbeat tune mirrors Adele’s desire for a real connection amid all the fakery, as Adele reflects on her previous relationship in hopes that her next one will be everlasting. Although the song represents a deeply emotional part of Adele’s life, it fails to present an intriguing performance. 

After following the failure of “Can I Get It,” I was certainly not disappointed by the next track. The eighth track “All Night Parking” reached deeply into Adele’s R&B aspect of songwriting. The duet with the late jazz piano legend Erroll Garner stood out as a pivotal song in the album. She sings about how a man reminds her of where she’s from, a hint that this song is about her rumored first post-divorce boyfriend. 

Towards the end of the album, several hits brought everything together. Tracks nine through 11 brought back the nostalgia of Adele’s past music. Specifically the songs “Hold On” and “To Be Loved” reminded me of older songs that would be found on her last album “25.” There were several highs and lows Adele used in her tone and voice. Going from singing words to belting out lyrics, I was thoroughly entertained. 

The finale song of the album “Love is a Game” brought everything together into a full circle. This song explores the idea of being open to finding love again and playing the game that comes with it. It effortlessly put together the highs and lows of love and the heartbreak that follows. After releasing all the pain from the previous songs, this one was the finishing touch of the album. 

From the beginning towards the end, Adele strung us along a 58-minute emotional journey consisting of heartbreak, grievance and encouragement. The age of 30 can come with many accomplishments, but for Adele, she broke records for becoming 2021’s fastest-selling album.