Adele is back with her most emotional album yet. The 33-year-old powerhouse released her latest project, 30, on November 19, making a bold statement with her new sound.
The album opens with a twinkling, stripped-back piano tune, instantly marking the start of something special and unique. As she sings, Audrey Hepburn’s Moon River comes to mind, as the track conveys nostalgia, sounding simply classic.
Throughout the album, this theme of unlikely influences is followed, with Cry Your Heart Out’s drumbeat sounding distinctly reggae-inspired, or akin to that of a Stevie Wonder song.
There is also a guitar-based track, Can I Get It, which starts off like a Red Hot Chili Peppers rock ballad, and continues to fluctuate between this and a 2010’s pop vibe. Adele truly keeps listeners on their toes throughout this project, making it impossible to know what to expect next.
A noticeable difference on this album is the elaborate production which graces a handful of tracks. With the exception of Hold On, a rather underwhelming and lacklustre entry, most of the songs sound sonically engineered in an unexpected way, offering booming basslines and peculiar sound effects that work to freshen up Adele’s image. All Night Parking is one example of this, sounding like a lo-fi beat in the best way possible.
The moments where 30 really shines though, are the moments when Adele’s emotion, both lyrically and vocally, are brought to the forefront.
My Little Love and Picks Up Again shine a spotlight on Adele’s soulful side, raising inevitable comparisons to Amy Winehouse. These tracks, particularly the former, show Adele’s vulnerabilities like never before, yet this rawness brings with it an air of maturity that makes her seem stronger than ever.
The best vocal performance undeniably comes from To Be Loved, an atmospheric and chill-inducing power ballad of acceptance.
On the whole, Adele brings innovation to her signature sound, offering fans an honest depiction of her life in a way they may have never imagined. She takes clear risks on a large portion of this album, but they undoubtedly pay off, resulting in a re-invention of her image which still somehow captures that quintessential Adele essence we know and love.
You can listen to 30 by Adele on Spotify below.