30 is Adele‘s fourth studio album, marking the return of the British songwriter and singer after a six-year hiatus. Released on November 19th, 2021, 30 tells the singer’s journey to find a way to rise up after her marriage fell apart.
When life crashes down
At the end of 2015 Adele decided to withdraw from the music scene to focus on her personal life. So, she got married and had a son. Having been denied a happy family as a child, she wanted to build one for herself and her loved ones. Unfortunately what she hoped for didn’t happen, and the marriage didn’t last long. She painfully decided to end to her marriage, and started to go through the process of a divorce and become a single parent.
30 was written during such difficult times.
I swear to God, I am such a mess
The harder that I try, I regress
I’m my own worst enemy
Right now, I truly hate bein’ me
Every day feels like the road I’m on
Might just open up and swallow me whole
How do I feel so mighty small
When I’m struggling to feel at all? (from Hold On)
The album progresses as a diary through the singer’s complex feelings. Among them the most difficult one to face is the guilt toward her son for not being able to keep the family together, as portrayed in My little love.
The track includes Adele’s tears and touching spoken words, which can remind of Billie Eilish’s Not My Responsibility. In both cases, the absence of music leads the listener to a full stop, deeply storing and elaborating the singers’ emotions.
The process of rising up
In an exclusive conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Adele shared that after several heavy-hearted months, she realized she needed to react and move forward with intention, for the love of herself and her son. She stopped drinking, started working out to sort of keep herself centered. The transformation involved both her physical aspect and mind-set. Even if anger, solitude and blame are the main characters of the album, Adele also wanted people to know that she did everything she could to keep her family together.
Taking responsibility in a relationship is a recurrent theme seen in several works, music albums, movies, novels. But still, marriages end. On the screen, Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Hagai Levi’s Scenes from a Marriage capture stories of couples that can’t communicate and, despite their feelings, they parted away.
Just like that, Adele at one point realized that she had to take responsibility and make her own decisions for her and her son’s sake.
To be loved and love at the highest countFrom To Be Loved
Means to lose all the things I can’t live without
Let it be known that I will choose to lose
It’s a sacrifice, but I can’t live a lie
Let it be known, let it be known that I tried
A creative album
With 30 Adele created something so unlike anything she did before. Musically the twelve tracks are a collection of soul ballads, adding new elements of jazz and gospel choir. The opening track Stranger by nature is an homage to Judy Garland. The singer co-wrote the song with Ludwig Göransson, an Oscar-winning Swedish composer who worked on Black Panther and with Childish Gambino.
Music for her generation
In Adele’s opinion, her latest album is the one people might be able to resonate the most with. It talks to her generation, it’s “for 30-40 year olds who are doing therapy”. With her introspective lyrics and powerful voice, the singer pours her heart out. She is just like everybody else, a woman and a mother with hopes, who tries to overcome the challenges life brings. 30 was anticipated by the lead track Easy on Me in October 2021, which immediately hit No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200.
The album opened in the UK with the highest first-week sales for an album by a female artist and became the biggest selling album of 2021. Every song on the album made the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Because of this and the critical reception, 30 is an instant classic.