Album Review: 30

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Credit: Owen Smith

Join Staff Reporters Tina Su and Hallie Luo in a review of Adele’s newest album, “30”.

It’s been six years since her last album “25” and Adele is finally back. With her divorce papers signed and some much-needed time for self-care, she has finally stepped out from the shadows and released a new album, titled “30”. Released on Nov. 21, 2021, “30” has mesmerized some fans nationwide. It’s an arrangement of 12 songs with references to ex-husband Simon Konecki, the father of her son and all of her most memorable experiences from the past six years.

While other artists have complete hits or misses on their albums, some of which are much more popular than others, each Adele release so far has been a global event during which everyone seems to be intrigued. With only three other albums, each record signifies a stage of her life with new lessons learned to share with her fans. Although “21” was her best-selling album with over six million copies sold, both “19” and “25” have also had record-breaking hits that many can recognize. From “Chasing Pavements” to “Rolling in the Deep,” each album never fails to deliver.

Despite her ground-breaking past albums, “30” is kind of a let down. The preview song, “Easy On Me,” did really well, but definitely set the standard too high for the other 11 songs. It’s certainly new and more of a contemporary pop, R&B and hip-hop than her traditional pop, however, it feels a little slow. This new take from Adele is something we’ve never heard before, which is still very respectable, but besides “Easy on Me,” the songs in the album don’t seem to have what it takes to be hit songs similar in popularity to “Hello” or “When We Were Young.”

My experience at her concert for previous album “25” solidifies my opinion on Adele’s newest work. Most of “25” included songs that are very easy to sing along and dance to. There was a certain common vibe throughout the TD Garden. With her new album, it is difficult to imagine a full stadium singing along to many of her songs with the same energy for her music as I experienced at the concert for “25.”

Additionally, all of the songs sound alike and they are indistinguishable before familiarizing yourself with each song. Every album should have a variety of songs in order to tell a story. In “30,” the story that is being told seems to be monotonous, without much of a plot at all. The starting and ending points seem to be at the same place throughout the entire album, opposite of her previous albums.

Since the songs in “30” are so similar, the listener has to be in a certain mood in order to enjoy the album to its fullest extent. When an album is used to tell a story with many ups and downs, there is a large variety, but with “30,” there is only one type of attitude. Therefore, there is only one frame of mind that someone can be in to be able to relate to the music, which to many is the most important aspect in order to enjoy a song. Especially since half of the songs are over six minutes long, it’s not for everyone.

However, it is very respectable of Adele to want to express her new stage in life with a different style of music than she produced before. It seems as though she thought that symbolizing her new mindset with her album and expressing herself in a different way were worth the risk, whether or not her fans appreciated it as much as her past albums. Especially since becoming a new mother, it’s no doubt that her life has changed, so her songs should change too.

Despite all the criticisms above, there are some songs worth honoring. “My Little Love,” about her relationship with her son Angelo, explores the difficulties of navigating through motherhood. This song is especially emotional, including short voice recordings of her conversations with her son. It feels personal, and the lyric “I’m holding on, Mama’s got a lot to learn” shows her continuous journey as a mother. Although this album might not be targeted towards teenagers, I’m sure many people can relate to this song, either from the child or the parent perspective.

Overall, it is unclear whether or not the songs in “30” are not very good, or just out of the teenage age range. As a high school student, there are a limited number of things that can be related to the life and divorce of a 33-year-old woman. So, when listening to this album, which is based on the stage of life that Adele is currently living in, there is a feeling of disconnectedness.