Adele’s ‘30’ Is Everything You Want from the Reigning Queen of Hearts—and Much More

When the news broke in 2019 that Adele was separating from charity executive Simon Konecki, her partner of eight years and father of their young son, Angelo, the Twittersphere reacted with typical grace and sympathy. “Sad for #Adele but we are about to get a bomb ass ‘31’ or ‘32’ album” wrote one user at the time.

Now, like a prophesy realized, Adele’s 30 drops this Friday. But the album, which arrives nearly six years after the singer-songwriter’s last record-shattering release, 25, may disappoint anyone expecting a “You Oughta Know”-style kiss-off anthem. While there are (of course) plenty of tear-soaked verses among its 12 tracks, there’s also a surprising amount of playfulness.  

Adele’s fourth studio album, 30, reunites her with 25 collaborators Greg Kurstin, Max Martin, and Tobias Jesso Jr.

Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Records

You can hear Adele having fun with genre: the twinkling album opener “Strangers By Night” sounds like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” if David Lynch were ever to remake The Wizard of Oz. “Cry Your Heart Out,” which preaches the therapeutic value of having your life fall apart every once in a while, is a reggae-tinged standout that feels like a lost Amy Winehouse song. “I Drink Wine,” despite its jokey title, is a boozy piano ditty that gave me shades of “Bennie and the Jets.” And then there’s the aptly titled banger “Oh My God,” which, with its “stomp-clap” hook, courtesy of longtime collaborator Greg Kurstin, is made to play for sold-out arenas. 

All these songs, especially “Strangers By Night,” feel like a departure from the album’s lead single, the instant-classic “Easy On Me.” It may be the quintessential Adele track, but happily, it’s nowhere near 30’s highlight. 

Many fans have speculated about how much 30 would explore Adele’s post-divorce relationships, including her rumored fling with grime superstar Skepta. While most of the album was written in 2019, during her divorce from Konecki—and long before she entered her current relationship with sports agent Rich Paul—there’s an air of romantic optimism pulsing throughout 30. “All Night Parking Interlude” sounds like it was recorded on a cloud. “When I’m out at a party, I’m just excited to get home, and dream about you all night long,” Adele croons. Featuring a sample of the Errol Garner standard “I’m in the Mood For Love,” the song perfectly captures the heady rush of a new romance. 

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