Adele – 30

Even though she’s one of the biggest music stars in the world, Adele has been unlucky in love....
Adele : 30
7.9 Columbia
Adele : 30

Even though she’s one of the biggest music stars in the world, Adele has been unlucky in love. The mammoth success of 2011’s 21 (QRO review) was from her channeling heartbreak so effectively, both grand and intimate. Yet she varied her outlook with the more upbeat 25 (QRO review) – having a child will do that. Unfortunately for her (but maybe fortunately for all the lovelorn listeners out there), the pop star went through a divorce, which weighs very heavily on 30.

Because 30 is a divorce/break-up record. What Adele endured pervades this record, from top to bottom, not just the break-up itself, but its effect on their shared child, how friends treat her, not wanting to go out, and more. And even for an artist who has made heartbreak her brand, it can be a little much here. For instance, she includes recordings of her expressing it with her child on “My Little Love”, and recordings from therapy on “I Drink Wine”, and while they make the listener feel they ‘know’ Adele, they quickly wear after repeated listens, like most spoken recordings on a music album. While it might be pitch-perfect for those going through something similar, it is a lot.

On the other hand, Adele widens her approach in sonic style. Her killer mix of grandeur and intimacy, plus, you know, that voice, made 25 and single “Hello” the music everyone loved, and she could have just repeated that & pulled it off to massive commercial success. Instead, in addition to that – see the chanteuse piano break-up “Easy On Me” & “To Be Loved”, the swaying heartache “I Drink Wine” or more ‘traditional Adele’ “Hold On” – there’s a sly soul to songs such as the soul-clap “Oh My God” or the following soul-stepper “Can I Get It”. She can even get upbeat about her loss with “Cry Your Heart Out” & more hopeful closer “Love Is a Game”, or the knowing interlude “All Night Parking (Interlude)”. And there are kiss-offs, like “God” and “Woman Like Me”, plus one dedicated to her child of divorce, “My Little Love”.

Adele is a massive star because she can both deliver the epic and the intimate, be Las Vegas residency size draw and feel like your heartbroken friend. And there was no way her latest record wasn’t going to be about her divorce. If perhaps a little more heartache than you need, of course Adele does it in style.

Album Reviews