After a lengthy six-year gap, Adele is back with her elaborately-publicized and promoted fourth Studio Disc, 30. The Album candidly explores life after divorce, motherhood, the tolls of fame and finding love once again.
Adele teams-up with Co-Writer Greg Kurstin on a majority of the tracks on this 12-track collection which feels cohesive and cinematic. Many are calling this her most personal Album yet and it is hard to disagree. “My Little Love” for one, features Voice Notes with her conversing with son Angelo, explaining divorce to him. She opens-up to us in the manner of a Fourth Wall, telling us about feeling sad and directionless, building-up to a tearful confessional. First single “Easy on Me” needs no introduction and is a letter to her son, pleading for him to be understanding of her decision to split from his father. Adele comes through filter-free and we’re all ears.
“Oh My God” takes us a little more into the uptempo and explores the terrifying emotions of feeling love once again despite “knowing that it’s wrong” even though “it feels right”. She gives herself permission to let go after some of the heavier emotions in the first few tracks. “Can I Get It” has Adele teaming with Pop Maestros Shellback and Max Martin on this guitar-driven banger where she shows her readiness to love again, asking for a bit of substance.
The Final Act of 30 veers more to introspection as it takes a soulful turn, taking us to Motown and this is the 120 million+-selling Chanteuse really brings on the heartache that we’ve come to yearn for. “Hold On” is blue but hopeful as she walks us through her struggle to feel once again but a reminder to be patient, and “To Be Loved“, co-written and co-produced by Vancouver’s Tobias Tesso Jr. soars in its heartfelt honesty where she poignantly sings how hard she tried in the name of love. The greatest performance perhaps is saved for the Finale in “Love is a Game“, which certainly is an homage to trailblazer Amy Winehouse.Adele sings with a raw vulnerability about the reality of love coming with heartache and pain, and how cruel it is that we “self-inflict that pain” upon ourselves.
30 is an Album that could only have been made and released after some time away and clarity, and we’re glad for it all. While there isn’t the immediate visceral connection here as on classics like “Someone Like You“, “All I Ask” or “Rolling in the Deep“, Adele gives us new things to listen-out for with each pass through. The Album is yet another accomplished effort in a Adele‘s deeply-affecting catalog and satiating at just under an hour runtime.
Sony Music Canada release Adele‘s 30, in stores now.