After a six-year hiatus, Adele, a sensational 15-time Grammy Award-winning artist, has returned with the debut of her fourth studio album “30,” released on Nov. 19.
One thing is for sure: she did not take it “easy on us.”
This album includes a track list of 12 songs filled with iconic jazz, pop, soul and R&B elements that illustrate her journey through divorce and its effect on her son all while in the spotlight. It is loaded with inspiration from legends like Judy Garland, Amy Winehouse, Stevie Wonder and Elton John.
Prior to the album, Adele gave her fans a sneak peek with the lead single, “Easy On Me,” released on Oct. 15.
“Easy On Me,” resembling some of her previous work like “Someone like You,” is lyrically brilliant, filled with soaring vocals, a sorrowful piano ballad and a steady tempo.
“Go easy on me, baby / I was still a child / Didn’t get the chance to / Feel the world around me / I had no time to choose / What I chose to do / So go easy on me,” Adele sings.
These vulnerable lyrics emphasize the theme of self-acceptance and taking accountability.
It is now the most-streamed record in 24 hours, with 24 million streams upon its release.
The third track, “My Little Love,” is a soothing, soulful yet emotional song that contains voice memos of Adele and her son, Angelo, addressing her 2019 divorce from her ex-husband, Simon Konecki.
Though some listeners may feel the interruption with voice memos between lyrics is distracting, the construction adds a painful but intimate feeling.
For instance, between some verses, listeners hear deep and vulnerable conversations between Adele and her son, one in which he begins by saying he feels like she doesn’t love him.
“You know mummy doesn’t like anyone else like I like you, right?” Adele responded.
Later in the bridge, she speaks of her ex-husband.
“I love your dad ’cause he gave you to me,” Adele said. “You’re half me and you’re half daddy.”
This is followed up by a tear-jerking outro.
“I feel like today is the first day since I left him that I feel lonely. And I never feel lonely, I love being on my own,” Adele said. “I always preferred being on my own than being with people. And I feel like maybe I’ve been, like, overcompensating. And being out and stuff like that to keep my mind off of him.”
Divorce is already a tough topic but adding a young child in the mix and trying to explain it to them does not make it any easier. With this song, Adele hit the nail on the head.
Transitioning to a lighter note midway through the album, the song “Can I Get It” samples the work of iconic jazz pianist, Erroll Garner, and provides listeners with an upbeat melody, a whistled chorus and a flirtatious feel. Together, it hints at her return to the dating world.
It’s safe to say “30” is a masterpiece, but there is one song that undoubtedly stands out. “To Be Loved” is the exact definition of vocal brilliance. Play this song, and there won’t be a dry eye in the room.
Running almost seven minutes with just a gentle piano in the background, the song captivates listeners as Adele effortlessly belts out long notes and nails the little details. It exhibits the pain of having to let someone go to be happy.
“To be loved and love at the highest count / Means to lose all the things I can’t live without / Let it be known, known, known / That I will choose, I will lose / It’s a sacrifice, but I can’t live a lie / Let it be known / Let it be known that I tried, that I tried / Let it be known that I tried,” Adele sings.
This may be the best song of Adele’s career thus far.
There is no doubt that “30” is an album full of raw emotion that will provoke the waterworks. Don’t be surprised if it wins a Grammy for album of the year.