Adele‘s forthcoming fourth studio album arrives Friday, and as the reviews start rolling in, 30 sounds like it will be her most triumphant heartbreak album yet, because in the end, she finds love — with herself.
While the highly anticipated follow-up to 2015’s 25 has had an easy start with its lead single “Easy on Me” ruling the Billboard Hot 100, as well as both global Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts, for four weeks straight, Adele doesn’t have the simplest time processing her divorce from ex-husband Simon Konecki and having to help their 9-year-old son Angelo process it too.
Album reviews are hailing her efforts in doing so, applauding the British singer-songwriter for excelling in her own lane and not straying from it.
Check out what the critics are saying about 30 below:
The New York Times: ” … Adele’s songs present her as her own target and her own unfinished self-improvement project. The album’s core style is secular gospel, with Adele’s voice gathering itself over hymnlike piano chords, seeking faith not in a higher power but in herself.”
The Guardian: “Producing an album that’s different from its predecessors, without being different enough to scare anyone off, is a not-unimpressive feat, particularly under the circumstances. Given their sales figures, you couldn’t blame Adele for declining to even tinker with a formula that clearly ain’t broke.”
The Independent: “Adele has always been forthright – every bad feeling you’ve felt, she has confessed to feeling too – but there is a new immediacy here. Earlier songs spoke in platitudes and broad strokes. … She takes a different approach to fellow expert of heartache Taylor Swift who instead wraps real-life details such as a ‘red scarf’ around her songs like a bow in a gift to her fans – but the effect on the listener is the same: emotional connection. And then devastation.”
The Telegraph: “Grappling with guilt, shame and insecurity over her recent divorce yet infused with a life-affirming sense of liberation, self-forgiveness and burgeoning new romance, Adele Adkins has made what might just be the most potent everywoman album since Carole King’s 1971 classic Tapestry. Or at least since Adele’s own 2011 world-beating classic, 21.”
Rolling Stone: “Adele has never sounded more ferocious than she does on 30—more alive to her own feelings, more virtuosic at shaping them into songs in the key of her own damn life. It’s her toughest, most powerful album yet.”
USA Today: “After more than a decade in the limelight, Adele songs have become as synonymous with heartbreak as ice cream and rom-coms. But as she wisely demonstrates on 30, it’s never too late to switch things up and fall in love with yourself for a change.”
NPR: “30, on the other hand, engages with the world — through lyrics that trade adolescent romanticism for genuine self-examination, arrangements that reflect the present moment, and a vocal presence as warm and multifaceted as Adele is in interviews and her onstage patter, where she’s a pal who tells long stories and makes jokes, not a gravitational force.”
Los Angeles Times: “‘To Be Loved’ — the next-to-last cut on the 12-track 30, due Friday — climaxes with what can only be described as a howl of pain, Adele’s famous God-given instrument so volcanic that it’s hard to believe everybody in Los Angeles didn’t stop on the day she recorded it and wonder what they just heard.”
Variety: “… Although 30 is at times the rawest and most sobering of the records she’s made to date, it also manages conversely to be the most fun, in its emotionally rattling fashion, as Adele mixes it up with an array of producers and stylistic pastiches to arrive at something that has a sense of play to go with all the sadness and self-laceration. It’s a kick in the pants as well as a solid cry. And the fact that it feels a little messier than her other albums is all the more fitting for a trip through a divorce court of the mind.”