After six years, Adele finally says “Hello” once again with her fourth studio album, 30. With this recent release, the 15-time Grammy Award winner takes on a new theme and sound, slightly straying away from her dark-thrill style to something a little more refined. So, what is this new album about? Adele could not have put it any better: “divorce babe, divorce.” But even more so, it is a message to her son, Angelo Adkins, for the future—an explanation of her divorce and navigating life’s changes. Sometimes it is easier to say what you can never voice aloud through art. With Adele, it is all wrapped up neatly in just 12 songs.
In March 2021, the British singer divorced Simon Konecki, CEO of the charity Drop4Drop. Although the divorce ended as well as it could have, with none of the usual messy and drama-filled gossip, it is clear that the relationship took a toll on the singer. I mean, just listen to her song “To Be Loved.”
Having been away from all the online publicity, once Adele announced the release of her album, especially the lead single “Easy on Me,” the world went wild (as it should). 30 is a transformation from her previous studio albums—19, 21, and 25—which were centred around relationships and heartbreak; they all had a sense of melancholy or retribution for those who wronged her, giving her music that powerful element that she is known for. With 30, Adele draws from a deeper place in her heart, focusing on discovering herself and the hardships she went through without blaming other people.
The album, when listened to from beginning to end (which you really should), feels like a lesson; it is an experience that you go through with Adele, but at the same time, she guides you through it all. Notably, she teaches a lesson that most artists shy away from: sometimes you need to be selfish for your own happiness.
“Strangers by Nature,” a song about reassurance, opens 30 and is meant to set the scene for the rest of the album. Diving into the ’70s groove, “My Little Love,” is the beginning of Adele’s dedication to her son and contains snippets of recorded conversations with him.
The first few songs are slower with a more melodic flow, but Adele’s signature style shines later through tracks like “Oh My God” which has a more defined beat, mirroring the realization that she is not tied to a partner anymore. Pulling from the ’60s, “I Drink Wine” is a more lighthearted song about shedding your ego. “Woman Like Me” entertains listeners, as it is more of a diss track directed at her ex-husband, with a messaging style reminiscent of her earlier albums. Lastly, “Love is a Game,” the retro, whimsical song filled with orchestral instrumentals, brings 30 to a satisfying close.
Starting this musical journey in 2018, Adele wanted to produce music with people she felt comfortable with during her times of darkness and uncertainty. For 30, she brought back Greg Jurstin, Tobias Jesso Jr., Max Martin, and Shellback—all producers on her previous albums. However, the record also includes Ludwig Goransson and Inflo from the English Band Sault, people she always wanted to work with.
The legend that she is, Adele did not make a comeback with just an album. Exclusively on TV network CBS, Adele performed iconic tracks like “Skyfall” and “Rolling in the Deep,” along with some songs from her newest album at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The close-knit event welcomed stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Lizzo, and Seth Rogen to the audience.
Additionally, Adele became the first-ever individual to be on the covers of both British Vogue and American Vogue within the same month. Each publication has stunning photos of the singer and in-depth personal interviews that explore more of her life and music career.
Once again, Adele delivers an outstanding album—one that can be delved into in search of layers of lyrical meaning or just to enjoy her pure-toned voice. Her new music is soothing and interlaced with groovy elements. Even with a new sense of style and maturity, doesn’t 30 just make you want to go through all of Adele’s past songs too? An Adele-listening party here we come.