Music in Review: “30”

The cover photo for 30, singer Adeles newest album release.

Heidi Hanson, Features Editor

On Nov. 20, 2015, Adele, popular R&B pop soul artist, released her previous album “25”. On Nov. 19, 2021, Adele released her fourth album, “30”, six years later. The album’s lead single, “Easy On Me”, was released on Oct. 15, 2021, and introduced her newest album after six years of anticipation from fans.

“Easy On Me” addresses her divorce from Simon Koneki, her now ex-husband of three years and father of her eight-year-old son, Angelo. The divorce and her relationship with her son is a huge theme throughout the album. 

“Easy On Me” is a relatively simple piano ballad that mirrors much of Adele’s earlier work, with a ranging melody and her usual impressive vocals. In the song, Adele almost pleads for forgiveness for getting a divorce with her husband and breaking apart her seemingly perfect family. She states that she “changed who [she] was” to put her family first and didn’t get a chance to see the world and grow on her own. 

The remaining songs on the album integrate the simplicity and vocal ranges of her previous music but involve various added layers; layered dissonant chords of her own voice and orchestral instrumental backgrounds make all 12 songs on the album a new story to unpack. Many of the songs also incorporate voice memos of Adele’s thoughts throughout her divorce, making “30” a very personal and vulnerable collection. 

“30” opens with the song “Strangers by Nature.” “Strangers by Nature” features a simple minor keyed melody (D minor, in case you were wondering), a keyboard as the background instrument, and a bone-chilling chorus with a multitude of layered harmonies. 

Said to be an homage to Judy Garland, “Strangers by Nature” is a question of if Adele’s heart will ever recover from the heartbreak it has endured, and reminds me personally of the whimsical atmosphere of films such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “The Wizard of Oz”. 

Another notable piece on “30” is “My Little Love”, another minor-keyed but more groovy and harmonious ballad on the album. The six-and-a-half minute song discusses her divorce’s impact on her young son, Angelo. In “My Little Love”, Adele knows that Angelo has seen her at her lowest and can see right through her act of positivity.

“My Little Love” features voice memos created with Angelo himself, as they discuss the divorce and their love for each other, and later Adele’s struggle to have high spirits at this time in her life. To say this song pulls at one’s heartstrings is an understatement; the deep rooted love but somber circumstances between the mother and son are felt through each verse, harmonious chorus and heart-wrenching voice memo.

With 12 songs and a total play time of one hour, the album averages five-minute ballads that range from two-and-a-half minutes to six-and-a-half minutes. The new, along with unfamiliar, sounds Adele brings to the table in this album are not only extremely impressive but also very refreshing. 

Despite the long length of some of the songs, they don’t feel they are dragging on like many longer songs do; each piece contains an intricacy in the verses and introduces new sounds as each song unfolds. This makes “30” consistently entertaining as well as satisfying.

With orchestral backgrounds, Adele’s usual rich and professional vocal tone and integrated voice recordings, each song on “30” is truly its own masterpiece. Each piece brings various simplicities, ranges, tones, keys and paces, and continues to maintain a beautiful and atmospheric cohesiveness throughout. 

Goosebumps and tissues are the best friend of this album, and I truly believe anyone can appreciate the complexity and notice the talent and effort that was put into each and every song. Adele truthfully came back with a bang, and continues to maintain her place and respect in the music industry. I rate “30” five out of five stars.