Perhaps the Rolling Stone review sums it up best: "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."
And evidently her fans worldwide concur. After weeks of teasing on social media platforms, Adele's fourth studio album finally came out on Friday — six years after her last album, 25. Within hours of its release, it has already topped the US iTunes album sales charts, edging out Taylor Swift's "Red (Taylor's Version)." Meanwhile, Twitter is awash with memes of people crying emotionally after digesting the 12 tracks of her fourth studio album.
There had been much hype in the weeks preceding the release of 30, with the British singer first releasing the song "Easy on Me," then dropping the official tracklist, and finally opening up to US talk show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview broadcast last Sunday about the life events that inspired her latest album on a CBS two-hour special, "Adele — One Night Only."
Dressed in matching white pantsuits, the two sat down in the now-familiar rose garden — the same venue where Winfrey conducted the infamous interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year. Amongst others, the two discussed Adele's divorce from long-time partner and former husband Simon Konecki, how and why she shed 100 pounds (45 kilos), and her current boyfriend, Rich Paul, founder of Klutch Sports Group that represents several prominent NBA players.
The CBS special, which was filmed at the end of October, also featured an exclusive pre-recorded concert where the 15-time Grammy Award winner sang 10 songs, including four from her upcoming album. A-listers in the audience included James Corden, actress Melissa McCarthy (who cried at every song she sang), a masked Leonardo DiCaprio and chef Gordon Ramsey.An amusing clip of Winfrey flubbing the lyrics of "Hello" also made its rounds on social media.
The 'divorce album'
Keeping to her tradition of naming her albums after milestone birthdays — her previous record-breaking albums were titled 19, 21 and 25 — the 33-year-old had told the UK and US editions of Vogue that she had written 30 to explain her divorce from Konecki to her young son, Angelo.
Song titles in the 12-song tracklist include "I Drink Wine," "Woman Like Me," "Can I Get It," and of course "Easy on Me" — the single's official video has already been watched more than 160 million times on YouTube. In the candid tell-all with Winfrey, she shared how she'd been obsessed with being a nuclear family her whole life, simply because she never came from one.
"From a very young age, I promised myself that when I had kids that we'd stay together and we would be that united family and I tried for a really, really long time. I was so disappointed for my son. I was so disappointed for myself." She recalled when she realized that her marriage was over: while doing a magazine quiz with her friends that posed the question "What's something that no one would ever know about you."
"I just said it in front of three of my friends, I was like, 'I'm really not happy. I'm not living, I'm just plodding along,'" she said, adding, however, that she is grateful that Konecki kept her grounded and away from a path of self-destruction.
Written in 'real time'
She also shared how she wrote the album while going through all her upheavals, adding that she wasn't afraid to share private details of her personal life on the album because "nothing is as scary as what I've been through over the last two/three years behind closed doors."
"Easy on Me" for instance was written after her son Angelo asked her simple questions she couldn't answer, like, "'Why don’t you love my dad anymore?' And I’d be like, 'I do love your dad. I'm just not in love.' I can’t make that make sense to a 9-year-old."
The accompanying music video for the song, which some might find reminiscent of her previous hit ballad "Hello," is first shot in black and white and shows her speaking on the phone while leaving a house with "For Sale" and "Sold" signs on it. She sings while driving off, the scenes interspersed with memories and music sheets blowing in the wind, after which the video changes into color.
Live shows but no world tours
Adele will play two shows at Hyde Park in London on July 1 and 2 next year. In typical Adele style, her announcement on Twitter in late October was succinct: "Oiii Oiiiiiiiiiiiii." However, a major world tour like the one she did for her previous album 25, is not on the cards. "It's too unpredictable, with all the rules and stuff," she told Rolling Stone recently, referring to the pandemic. "I don't want anyone coming to my show scared. And I don't want to get COVID either."
Known for hits such as "Someone Like You" and "Hello," Adele is one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time, having stormed charts worldwide, amassing on the way a clutch of Grammys and an Oscar for the James Bond theme song, "Skyfall."
Author Brenda Haas
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