Fresh from a six year hiatus, Adele is back and better than ever.
The British pop star begins “30,” her latest album released on Nov. 19 through Columbia Records with the lullaby “Strangers of Nature.”
Inspired by the film “Judy,” about the later years of actress Judy Garland’s life, the whimsical, dreamy song is the shortest on the album at only three minutes, half the length of tracks like “Hold On,” “To Be Loved” and “Love is a Game.”
In true Adele fashion, the 12-track project is filled with yearnings of love and wanting to be loved. Yet, with this album, she dives deeper into the abyss of self-realization and reflection.
To say this album is the most personal project in her catalog is a huge understatement. With voice memos spastically appearing, Adele lets the curtain come apart in such a beautiful way that for the first time, her fans can finally peek through and see her in a new light.
After “Easy on Me,” her platinum lead single, Adele sings a ballad of love about her son, Angelo, where listeners can hear cute snippets of his voice throughout the song.
“My Little Love” is an ode to her child in the sweetest of ways, singing “my little love, tell me do you feel the way my past aches, when you lay on me, can you hear the way my heart breaks.” In this verse, Adele alludes to her divorce from ex-husband Simon Konecki, asking her son if he can tell she is severely hurting from the devastation of this marital divide.
The next three songs on the album—“Cry Your Heart Out,” “Oh My God” and “Can I Get It” — are cheeky with different rhythmic feels.
“Cry Your Heart Out,” which mixes Motown-like background vocals and reggae beats, describes the experience of crying so much that it becomes cathartic. “Oh My God” is the aftermath of a depressive episode described in the previous track, explaining the self-realization of being newly single and what comes with that new territory.
The next track “Can I Get It” is a playful and sensual song with a background of whistles that make listeners sway back and forth; however, the next track, “I Drink Wine,” is nothing of the sort. “One Night Only,” a standout track on the project which she debuted at last week’s star-studded CBS event titled, will put listeners in their feels.
“I Drink Wine” encapsulates the transitional period of divorce to finding new love. With the lyrics “sometimes the road less traveled is the road best left behind,” Adele reflects the sense of leaving the past behind and embarking on a new journey of self discovery and acceptance.
The next song, titled “All Night Parking,” is all about finding new love and “dreaming about [them] all night long.”
Tracks like these highlight the importance of playing the album in the order they were crafted. This was so important to Adele that in a tweet from Nov. 20, she asked mega-streaming service Spotify to remove the shuffle option when listening to albums because “our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended.”
The album continues with a somber song called “Woman Like Me,” a diss track of sorts where she calls out her ex-husband for his complacency and insecurities.
The focus shifts back to herself with “Hold On,” a track describing the hollow feelings that come with grieving her divorce. In a gospel fashion accompanied by an organ, “Hold On” transports fans to church on Sunday morning.
The final songs, “To be Loved” and “Love is a Game,” reflect Adele’s efforts to make her relationship work. A standout track, “Love is a Game” closes on a strong note. The song represents learning from past mistakes and taking these lessons into her next relationships. She ends the song by saying “I can love, I can live again/l love me now, like I loved him.”
“30” is a self-expression of taking lessons from past relationships, but it points out that the most important relationship is with ourselves — and to never take that for granted.
Adele’s “30” can be streamed here and is not only a must-listen, but an instant classic.
Featured image taken from Instagram: @adele