Friday, November 19, 2021

Adele's 30 released

30

Adele


Released: November 19, 2021


Peak: 11 US, 11 UK, 11 CN, 11 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.69 US, 0.26 UK, 0.95 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: blue-eyed soul


Tracks:

Song Title [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Strangers by Nature [3:02] (12/4/21, 41 US)
  2. Easy on Me [3:44] (10/15/21, 15 BB, 3 AC, 5 A40, 33 AA, 32a RB, 16 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU)
  3. My Little Love [6:29] (12/4/21, 23 US)
  4. Cry Your Heart Out [4:15] (12/4/21, 44 US)
  5. Oh My God [3:45] (12/2/21, 5 US, 2 UK)
  6. Can I Get It [3:30] (12/4/21, 26 US)
  7. I Drink Wine [6:16] (12/2/21, 18 US, 4 UK)
  8. All Night Parking (with Erroll Garner) [2:41] (12/4/21, 53 US)
  9. Woman Like Me [5:00] (12/4/21, 55 US)
  10. Hold On [6:06] (12/4/21, 49 US)
  11. To Be Loved [6:43] (12/4/21, 32 US)
  12. Love Is a Game [6:43] (12/4/21, 56 US)

All songs by Adele with other songwriters.


Total Running Time: 58:15

Rating:

4.203 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)


Quotable: Her “toughest, most powerful album yet.” – Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone

About the Album:

Adele’s fourth album deals with her separation from Simon Konecki (who she divorced in January 2021) as well as motherhood and fame. It has been described as “a pop, jazz, and soul album focusing on romantic but melancholic themes of heartache, acceptance, and hope.” WK

Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield called 30 Adele’s “toughest, most powerful album yet.” WK Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph agreed that it was her strongest record yet. WK Variety said it is “her emotionally rawest, riskiest and best record.” VY The Guardian called it a “self-flagellating powerhouse of an album.” GU “This is a classy album, if not quite a stone-cold classic.” GU

Her “emotions are fathoms-deep and mountain high.” GU Adele “ugly-cries, then wipes off her streaked makeup,” GU spilling forth “enough wrenching, life-and-death drama to leave you completely spent by the time the hour is up.” VY Because she was “denied a happily-ever-after nuclear family as a child, she wanted for her son” GU so her failed marriage caused her anxiety and guilt. She said the intent of the album was to explain things to her son, Angelo. GU

As usual, Adele’s “vocal reach extends to the bits of stadiums only the pigeons and crane operators know.” GU “What’s new here is the…rawness of her feelings and how plaintive Adele’s pleas become for mitigating factors to be taken into account.” GU “Stymied by the notion that big emotions need inflation, 30 overreaches for the rafters a little too often.” GU

This won’t be her biggest-selling album, nor does it have “a string of obvious world-conquering singles…although it has a good enough handful of un-obvious ones. But there’s a bracing maturity in these 12 tracks that’s more emotionally complex and intriguing than the rather more easy-to-follow woe of the preceding three collections.” VY

She wrote the songs between 2018 and 2021, working with producers Greg Kurstin, Tobias Jesso Jr., Max Martin, and Shellback. All of them previously worked on her 2015 album 25. New to the fold is Dean Josiah “Inflo” Cover, who has worked with his own group Sault as well as Michael Kiwanuka and Little Simz. GU In February 2020, she announced that it would be out by that September, but the release was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. WK As for the name 30, it refers to Adele’s age when she wrote most of the songs, VY not her age upon the album’s release (33).

Charts and Sales
The album sold 261,000 copies in its debut week in the UK, making for the biggest first-week sales of 2021. OC It was also the biggest opener for a female solo album since…well, Adele’s 25 album in 2015. OC All four of her studio albums have topped the charts in the UK.

In the United States, all 12 songs from the album charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in the album’s debut week. While other albums have accomplished this feat, it is the first time for Adele. She laneded the biggest sales week of the year in the United States as well with 692,000. BB

“Easy on Me”
“The Adele you thought you know comes…sharply…into focus with…Easy on Me, which was picked as the first single for a reason: Musically, at least, it’s the one where she’s most saying ‘Hello,’ again, and it makes a good segue into some of the album’s riskier deviations from form.” VY

“Strangers by Nature”
On Strangers by Nature, Adele “proves nicely capable of restraining her full-bathos diva-ness in favor of a greater embrace of jazz-style singing.” VY She “establishes a Judy Garland atmosphere…Wrapped in Disney-soundtrack strings and flutes, the song sets up a melancholic, retro LA headspace.” GU

“Cry Your Heart Out” and “Oh My God”
Cry Your Heart Out “packs a little retro perkiness, echoing Amy Winehouse.” GU It is one of the album’s “most overtly commercial songs.” VYOh My God details Adele’s shock at a new relationship, accompanied by more frisky production.” GU “It’s the record’s sexy-AF breakout.” VY

“Can I Get It”
Can I Get It “represents the record’s most obvious booster-shot-bop. It’s a track made up of so many disparate parts, figuring out whether or not they organically connect isn’t easy even on a third or fourth listen.” VY “Martin and Shellback’s Frankenstein-ian pop confection moves from solo acoustic guitar to brash electronic beat and back again.” VY

“I Drink Wine”
I Drink Wine is the track that Adele-oholics have already decided is their favorite; they don’t even need to hear it, with that title. It won’t be a letdown, even though it’s all about letdowns. ‘How come we’ve both become a version of a person we don’t like?’ she sings, over a solo piano bed that isn’t mournful, like the one in ‘Easy on Me,’ but sweet and gospely.” VY

“Hold On”
“The waterworks go all the way up to 11 on Hold On, whose hymnal qualities telegraph a faith that painful situations get better in time.” GU

“Woman Like Me”
On Woman Like Me, “there’s a small world of romantic and class power dynamics to unpack” VY as she “spints a scenario where a man, rather than rising to the occasion and embracing her boss-hood, has retreated to hang out with his old circle.” VY “She goes to a pretty dark place, and she’s not leaving us in the dark about it.” VY

“To Be Loved”
“Just when you think that Adele’s lungs can expand no wider…along comes To Be Loved.” GU This is “seven minutes of nothing but Adele and co-writer-producer Tobias Jesso Jr.’s piano. It’s not just the best singing Adele has ever delivered; you might leave it thinking it’s one of the best vocals anyone has ever recorded.” VY

“All Night Parking”
That “is the track that defines 30, but arguably the most grown-up tune on this very grown-up album is All Night Parking.” GU She sings “fresh lyrics over a vintage Erroll Garner jazz piano instrumental that’s embellished a bit with newly recorded trumpet and violin.” VY

“Love Is a Game”
The album “finds its…climax…in a fun cynical romp of a finale, one that takes just a little of the piss out of the sobriety of the last few songs. On Love Is a Game…the strings kick back in and swell to their grandest, and Adele does an almost girl-group call-and-response with herself.” VY


Notes: The Target deluxe edition added bonus tracks “Wild Wild West,” “Can’t Be Together,” and a duet of “Easy on Me” with Chris Stapleton.

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First posted 11/22/2021; last updated 11/30/2021.

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