On Nov. 19 Adele Adkins, who goes most typically by just her first name, released her fourth album labeled “30”. Like each record previous to her latest, she titles them after the age she wrote her songs since they are a reflection of her life during that time.
On an Instagram live that quickly went viral, Adele had revealed her album would revolve around her recent divorce in March of 2021. As a long-time Adele fan, I was incredibly excited to listen to her 12 new songs and even set up a countdown until it would be available to listen to. And of course, she did not disappoint one bit.
“Strangers By Nature”
Artists are always intentional when they choose the order of songs on albums, so when Adele chose to have “Strangers By Nature” as the first song on her record, it was no mistake the first words we hear are “I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart.” The track is a perfect introduction for the upcoming songs about her romances and mistakes.
“Easy On Me”
“Easy On Me” was released on Oct. 15, a little over a month before the entire album was publicized. The song was a perfect pick to get fans excited about “30” since it’s a standard “Adele” song. Continually, it captured the theme of the overall record perfectly as she sings about all the lessons she learned during her childhood, divorce, and with family.
“My Little Love”
It seems that every time I play “My Little Love,” tears start to creep up into my eyes. Honestly, there are few words to describe the beautiful and heartbreaking message she shares. Throughout the song, she speaks to her son and the audience about her overwhelming guilt: raising her son with separated parents. Her cries for forgiveness can move any listener as she belts out, “I’m holding on, barely. Mama’s got a lot to learn.”
“Cry Your Heart Out”
Since we usually only hear strong, slow ballads from Adele, it definitely seems like she plays around with different styles in this album since she picks up the pace in “Cry Your Heart Out” and a few others on “30”. Even though the lyrics are saddening, “I can’t get no relief, I’m so tired of myself,” the tempo will force you to cheerfully dance and sing along.
“Oh My God”
“Oh My God” is exactly what I said after hearing this track for the first time. I didn’t even have to finish the entire song to know it was going to be my favorite on the album and possibly overall by Adele. The quick and catchy tune instantly puts you into a tough, pop mood, especially at the bridge when clapping begins and her voice is deeply layered.
“Can I Get It”
Adele’s last upbeat song, “Can I Get It,” talks about searching for love again, and this time, hopefully having it work out. Though the separation hasn’t been a long time and may seem like a rush to get back into the dating scene, she explains her reasoning: “I won’t make it on my own”.
“I Drink Wine”
When I originally saw the song titles of “30,” I laughed at the label “I Drink Wine”. I didn’t know what to expect, it definitely wasn’t what I was thinking. “I Drink Wine” is a leisurely, yet strong ballad about how she tries to find her true self and stops “trying to be somebody else.”
“All Night Parking”
Adele’s lyrics are always so powerful that most listeners just fixate on them rather than the score of the piece, but the main focus in this song is undoubtedly the gorgeous instrumental. In the background, a beautiful jazz piano is played by Errol Garner, who wrote and performed “All Night Parking” with Adele. I only wish it was longer than two minutes, but my repeat button will have to do.
“Woman Like Me”
“Woman Like Me” is the perfect song to play while it’s raining, a candle is lit and you are doing a puzzle: which is exactly what I was doing as I listened to this song for the first time. Its gentle tempo and layered harmonies create a peaceful atmosphere wherever you are.
The mellow echoes in this song are utterly beautiful and add such depth to the piece. As the track progresses, the tempo and power start to build up as she yells out “just hold on,” invoking a sense of strength within you.
“To Be Loved”
“To Be Loved” is honestly the only song that doesn’t meet the grandeur of the other tracks on the album. It’s still beautiful, as she belts out “let it be known that I tried,” but the six-minute song should be shortened so it gets to the heart-wrenching ending sooner.
“Love Is A Game”
“Love Is A Game” is undoubtedly one of Adele’s strongest songs on “30,” which is why it’s no surprise she chose it as the final track, leaving the audience with a bang. At the two-minute mark, her slow tempo picks up to a lighter tone when she begins to make a joke out of love: “Love is a game for fools, what a cruel thing to self inflict that pain”.
If you haven’t already listened to “30,” I highly recommend doing so. Adele successfully proves once again her gift for writing impactful pieces about love and loss and doing so in a catchy way.