CRITICS’ CORNER: MUSIC REVIEW – 30 (Adele album)

Julian Knapp, Staff Reporter, Sophomore

The world has waited for superstar, and singer-songwriter Adele’s new album for five long years. Adele is no stranger to the number one spot on the charts, but this album, 30, has already been hailed by reviewers as her “best album ever,” by Rolling Stone as well as her “most ambitious work yet.”

Adele is famous for her powerful voice, which is the main focus of the new album. At times her vocals are barely accompanied by instruments. There is a wide variety of styles represented in the album, with inspiration from several different eras and genres being apparent. The album is intended to be a story, with Adele even asking Spotify to disable automatic shuffle play, wanting to keep the songs listened to in the order in which she intended.  

The story Adele is telling on the album is about her divorce, and the pain of a love gone wrong. The first song, “Strangers by Nature,” sounds dreamy, as if you are going back in time. In fact, Adele said that the song was inspired by the style of Judy Garland, an old Hollywood star from the 1940s. The third track, “My Little Love” has a 70s style, and she sings to her child about her feelings as they go through the divorce, even playing some recordings of their conversations. The fourth song, “Cry Your Heart Out” has a punchy, upbeat pop / R&B vibe despite its sad title. The fifth song, “Oh My God”, is jazzy in both vocals and instrumentation, even featuring woodwinds. In this song, she is also accompanied by a choir toward the end. 

The rest of the album continues to offer a variety of styles, featuring acoustic guitars, pianos, Latin drum beats, and even an organ. The eleventh song on the album, “To Be Loved,” has the most powerful vocal performance.  Adele’s voice is unbelievable and goes along with her soul-searching lyrics. Fans of songs about love and heart-wrenching lyrics will have a lot to listen to on this album.