Adele’s “30”: A Thoughtful, Tender Take on the Pain of Divorce


Anthony Abrahantes

Adele’s poignant new album showcases her newest phase of life.

Emmanuelle Desmet, Staff Writer

Album: “30”

Artist: Adele

Genre: Pop

Release date: Nov. 19, 2021

Our rating: A-

Adele’s fans have been longing for new music from the pop star for the past six years, but many will find that her new studio album “30” is worth the wait. In what may just be her most personal project yet, she navigates the complex feelings that result from a divorce, including grief, helplessness, and liberation. However, this album is ultimately her most nuanced take on failed romantic relationships because she also dives into the intense guilt she feels for the painful ramifications that her divorce from her husband has had on her son, Angelo.

In addition, this album is her most experimental project to-date, as she takes inspiration from a variety of different genres, including jazz, soul and gospel. As a result, the production is a double-edged sword, since it leaves some tracks feeling all-over-the-place (“Can I Get It”, “Strangers by Nature”) and others feeling fresh and interesting (“Oh My God”, “Cry Your Heart Out”). Nevertheless, this record is ultimately one of her best studio efforts because of her powerful vocals and soul-crushing lyrics. Here is a deep-dive into some of the most compelling tracks on “30”.

Even though this is not my favorite of Adele’s albums, I love this album so much because it is so beautifully written and made. I am really excited for whatever she decides to do next,

— sophomore Anabella Rodriguez

“Oh My God”

Our Rating: A

This track demonstrates the best results of Adele’s sonic experimentation. The production is playful but not overdone, skillfully enhancing the beauty of Adele’s soulful vocals. This song also stands out because it is one of the few songs on the album in which she truly feels free and rejuvenated, vowing to date again in order to have some much-needed fun. For these reasons, this catchy banger will likely go down as one of her most timeless songs.

“To Be Loved”

Our Rating: A+

This track is the definitive song on the album because it encapsulates everything that Adele does best. It is a tearjerker ballad in which she finally gives up on a relationship that just couldn’t work and lets her former lover know that she tried her best. The lyrics are some of the most poignant that she’s written in years, but her vocals take center stage here, as she expertly uses every facet of her voice to tell the story. Her voice has never sounded more powerful, gritty or strong, and this track solidifies her place as one of the world’s greatest vocalists.

“After everything Adele has gone through the past few years, she blew all expectations out of the park and came back with such a personal album. She sounds phenomenal, as always, and this album cements her as one of the best artists at the moment,” sophomore Anabella Rodriguez said.

“I Drink Wine”

Our Rating: B+

This track has various pros and cons. For instance, Adele’s main vocals are lovely, but some of the backing vocals feel unnecessary and distract from her impressive ability as a soloist. In addition, this self-love anthem is overall a fun listen, but it fails to sustain listeners’ attention, suffering due to its lengthy six minute run time. All in all, it just is not as brilliant as some of the other songs on the album, but its bluesy vibe and powerful message deserve praise.

“This album is not at all the same as Adele’s previous works, but I appreciate her personal and professional growth as a fan. She showed with this album that life will change in an uncomfortable way, but that it gets better,” sophomore Santiago Giraldo said.

Beautifully written and sung throughout, “30” is for the most part a solid record that contains some of Adele’s best songs. The album is also a massive commercial success due to its position as the fastest-selling album of 2021 in the U.S. It is clear that Adele is not afraid to take risks, whether sonically or lyrically, and she will continue to be a mainstay in the pop charts for years to come.