Adele, the queen of heartbreak, has left us taken aback with her first album since 2015. And I think this one is a little bit different to the rest.
Her previous work has always given us a heartfelt anthem known up and down the nation, but 30 gave us something unexpected.
It tells the story of her marriage breakdown, bringing joy, sadness, and the feeling of being overwhelmed and alone.
The first track Strangers By Nature is the perfect introduction. The instrumental makes for a dramatic mourning of a past relationship and the idea of someone you love turning into a stranger sets an emotive tone for the whole album.
Easy On Me is the first single Adele released from 30 and it gives a sense of ending on good terms, finding yourself, and experiencing things separately – not as a couple – that you’ve both always wanted to do. I understand why Adele released this as a single because it easily stands alone without the context of the rest of the songs.
My favourite track on the album is My Little Love, where Adele uses recordings of her and her son Angelo to give insights into their lives after her divorce. This song demonstrates the loving nature of a mother and son and shows the sadness a parent experiences in a divorce, but still keeping it together for the children.
I think this song was a risky choice to include – telling the world intimate details about her family is not a light decision. But it adds a different side to the telling of a break-up, something many people will never understand.
Cry Your Heart Out is a more upbeat ballad about getting up, doing something with your day and dealing with the idea of being on your own. She tells us its okay to cry and okay be upset.
The most listened-to song from album is Oh My God, which is a more upbeat pop song that I can see becoming one of Adele’s well-known bangers in the future. Her distinctive whistle vocals that she does so well add the Adele factor to what could be a massive hit.
Her other upbeat pop song Can I Get It is one that I think will be another big hit. However, I don’t think the tone of the song fits with the album completely. It gives me very 2010-esque vibes with the whistling and screech of the guitar strings. As a fan of 2010 pop I love this song, but I would understand those that didn’t like it as much.
I Drink Wine picks the album back up again while All Night Parking gives us a bit of a jazz-crossed-with-pop song representing the start of a relationship where you’re so happy to be in a new situation with this stranger. It echoes Woman Like Me where Adele explains the breakdown of the relationship the further into it they get.
Hold On gives us a six-minute slow ballad, representative of the long time it takes to heal, and the patience it takes to become fine again. That dealing with emotions is often harder than pretending to be okay. It encapsulates Adele and the aura we all think of when we hear her name: a ballad of amazing vocals with the backing of a choir.
The hardship of telling yourself that the love you long for is not the love you should settle for is a hard message to hear and that is why To Be Loved is hard to listen to. Everyone is a victim to love and falls at the hard times, but you must learn to live with what has happened.
This Whitney Houston vibe gives the insight into settling for anything because they just wanted to be loved and cared for, something everyone has done at some point in their life.
The album closes with Love is A Game – a softer version of the previous heartfelt song and a sensible finish to the album. This song calls back to Love Is a Losing Game by Amy Winehouse, echoing the message of feeling foolish in love.
It is a direct homage to the artist 10 years after her death by Adele, who openly admits to being inspired by Winehouse’s work. The quiet to crescendo instrumental shows the journey of growth she has embarked upon and that she knows that despite the hard times everything will be okay.
Recommended Reading: The Life and Career of Adele
Overall, 30 is Adele’s best album. For me, it tells a story better than the others do, each track gives us the account of her life as the days continue and you can see how sometimes life can be rocky before it gets easier.