Adele – 30
With a well-deserved reputation as a talented vocalist and generous purveyor of heart-wrenching ballads, earned over the course of almost her entire adult life, Adele’s new record is highly anticipated. Its release comes as the public tries to pull itself together again following the unrelentingly intense lead single Easy on Me, which has done a better job on its own of selling the project than any number of Vogue covers could hope to achieve.
The track introduces a lyrical maturity that was present only sparsely on Adele’s earlier albums – the Adele of 30 is constructive as well as contemplative, willing to take responsibility for actions that might not even have been her fault. This new voice adds something endearing to tracks such as To Be Loved, the superbly titled I Drink Wine and Woman Like Me, which would otherwise fall into the category of crowd-pleasers offering not much more than romantic clichés, extremely well performed though they may be.
The singer is at her best on the gentle but gripping album opener Strangers by Nature, an understated melody that gives her remarkable voice the stage space it deserves, and the touching My Little Love, a blend of diary-like monologue and almost unnerving interjected clips of conversations with her child that still manage to hold on to the relaxing atmosphere of a half-empty jazz club, early evening or – more likely – early morning. Here, as on the meandering interlude All Night Parking (featuring sweet fragments of the late, wonderful Errol Garner on piano), choir-like backing vocals frame her words gorgeously and sparingly, almost under-utilised.
With 30, Adele offers an album that her devoted fans will undoubtedly adore and, despite an over-produced snare drum here and an over-edited lyric there, this is a substantial record that holds its own regardless of intrigue, press coverage or external narratives. At base, the artist walks us through a journey that shouldn’t be undertaken alone, a journey absolutely deserving of patience, care, attentive listeners – and at least one piano.
30 is released on 19th November 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Adele’s website here.
Watch the video for the single To Be Loved here: