‘30’ is an emotional masterpiece

Adele captures heartbreak like never before on her newest album

Official cover art for 30

Official cover art for “30”

By Shannon Moore

Adele’s music has always been about emotion. Fans and casual listeners alike rave about how Adele’s music makes them feel. She is most well-known for writing about the loss of love and all the universal feelings heartbreak brings. And this is one of the reasons she’s so popular: she sings from a deeply emotional place everyone can relate to. On her newest album, “30,” Adele perfectly encapsulates these feelings of loss yet again.

“30” is Adele’s fourth album, released on Nov. 19. Many music critics say that it is her most personal album yet. In the six years since her previous release, Adele divorced her husband and father to their child. The album focuses on the roller coaster of emotions she experienced as a result, and Adele herself has even said that the album is about “divorce babe, divorce,” on an Instagram live. Across the track list, she covers a wide range of emotions, primarily focusing on her sorrows and feelings of guilt over the divorce. Many songs also focus on her struggle to learn to love again.

On the track “My Little Love,” Adele addresses the guilt she feels as her son Angelo struggles to understand the divorce. The track is quite possibly Adele’s most vulnerable song yet. Intertwined within the actual song is voice memo recordings of conversations between Adele and her son, trying to explain the divorce and her emotions to her son in a way he can understand. The entire song is extremely emotional and the background instrumentals contain only simple humming melodies and occasional piano chords. Adele’s raw emotion carries the song seen in her vocals as well as the hard-hitting lyrics. Singing directly to her son, Adele cries “I know you feel lost, it’s my fault completely,” and “I feel so bad to be here when I’m so guilty.” Her guilt and overwhelming sense of responsibility over the situation is heartbreaking.

On this album, Adele also tackles another difficult topic: depression. During her press tour for the album, she has been very open about her struggle post-divorce which occurred during pandemic lockdowns. “My Little Love” ends with a voice memo, stating “I just feel really lonely / I feel a bit frightened that I might feel like this a lot.” On “Hold On”, Adele gives some of the most honest descriptions of depression that can be found in a song. Lyrics like “how do I feel so mighty small, when I’m still struggling to feel at all,” embody what it feels like to battle these feelings of emptiness and despair. However, “Hold On,” also sends a message of perseverance. Adele sings, “let time be patient,” and “you’re still strong” as a choir behind her chants “just hold on.” Past every lyric and every beat, Adele’s extraordinary vocal ability shines through. Her ability to balance powerhouse vocals with softer, airy verses is something that truly cannot be matched by any artist.

Adele has always been vulnerable in her music and being real is what draws people back to her year after year. “30” is no different; in fact, Adele is more real than she has ever been. Despite all the guilt she felt while falling out of love, she knew she could not be happy staying in marriage. Adele prioritized herself and her happiness. Now, she’s teaching her fans to do the same.

On the album’s lead single, “Easy On Me,” she sings “I can’t bring myself to swim when I’m drowning in this silence,” telling listeners how difficult it is to live when you don’t follow your heart. By sharing her story, Adele encourages her listeners to live their full truth. She’s always told people to move forward and love again after heartbreak, but now she’s telling people to move forward and love themselves.

“30” is not just about her sorrows, however. One of my personal favorite songs on the album is “All Night Parking.” The track is about Adele regaining the ability to love again. Over an airy, angelic piano, she sings “every time that you text, I want to get on the next flight home.” After all of the melancholic tracks on the album, “All Night Parking” reminds that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Another standout, “Can I Get It,” is an upbeat love song. An acoustic guitar and upbeat drums carry the track as Adele sings “all I want is for you to be mine.” These upbeat, happier tracks are much needed after some of the heavier ballads and are certainly much more appreciated in contrast.

On “30,” Adele has yet again captured what it’s like to fall out of love, and mourn. Adele wows the world with her voice alone, but it is the raw and revealing lyrics on this album that make this album standout from her discography. While this is Adele’s self-proclaimed “divorce” album, she leaves the listener with feelings of hope for the future. “30” is another amazing addition to Adele’s already stunning discography, and will go down as one of her best.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].