Review: Adele’s new album, “30”

By Anna Calkins, Staff Writer

After six years of radio silence, Adele has released a thrilling new album. Here’s the rundown on all the new songs.

The album cover for 30.

Adele’s long-awaited comeback album, “30,” dropped on November 19th, six years after the release of her last album, “25”. The new album got a lot of attention on social media, and Paw Print is here to tell you if all the album lived up to the hype it received.

As a musician and an avid Adele fan since I was young, I was very excited about this new album. I remember skipping songs on my purple iPod Shuffle (decked out with an emoji sticker, of course) until I got to “Rolling in the Deep” or “Set Fire to the Rain.” These Adele classics are still undeniably excellent songs, still popular even 10 years later. It’s no doubt “Easy on Me” will settle in the same ranks as these songs. If I could control the charts, “Can I Get it” and “All Night Parking” would be at the top for the next few weeks.

All Adele’s previous albums have a very distinct sound- round, low, flowing ballads. Her voice is powerful and striking. This new album, while still very distinctly ‘Adele’ at its core, is in a slightly different direction than the previous ones. There is a more gospel-type sound to many of the songs, with more call and response segments and round chords. Only about three of the songs feel like classic Adele- for instance, “Easy on Me.” 

If you haven’t listened yet, I highly recommend that you do. The album is surprising, but in good ways only, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it in the writing of this review.

Strangers by Nature

Strangers by Nature” is another ballad. It varies from others in a couple of ways, though. The grand song has discordant vocals and chords, and there’s a sort of musical fog over the background music. It’s new for Adele, and stunning.

Easy on Me

“Easy on Me” is, of course, the radio hit of the album. I’ve been hearing this song on various radio stations for perhaps the entire past month- and I’m not mad. The song is in F Major, a key that songwriters and composers often use for calmness. Adele contrasts this gentle key with strong movement and powerful sounds in the vocals. I will never be able to resist turning up the volume every time this song comes on and singing along- it was the perfect early release for the album, garnering loads of excitement.

My Little Love

This song is heavily influenced by unusual sources for Adele. She said she borrowed ideas for the instrumentation of the song from Tyler the Creator’s work, and there are influences from Golden Age jazz as well. It’s an especially personal song for Adele where she unpacks her own life recently.

Cry Your Heart Out

“Cry Your Heart Out” is a deceptive title. Personally, I wouldn’t want to cry to this song, but it is a very good song. It feels like the one you would want to play when you just stopped crying and are putting your game face back on.

Oh My God and Can I Get It

These two songs are much more upbeat than all the others- their BPM is faster and their mood is generally higher. They’re determined songs. “Can I Get It” has chaotic instrumentation that comes together beautifully to form the song. “Oh My God” is much higher in key and feels lighter because of this.

I Drink Wine

I Drink Wine” is a piano-dominated song that feels a bit cheeky, and also honest. It’s not my personal favorite, but its velvet vocals and percussion lines are still impressive.

All Night Parking (interlude)

If you’re familiar with the music of Kali Uchis, you might notice that this song is very similar. I have no idea if there’s an influence, but there’s a striking similarity. “All Night Parking” is a gentle, yearning song that feels different from all the others on the album- as many interludes are.

Woman Like Me

Woman Like Me” feels like the song in the background of an emotional restaurant dining scene in a movie- in the best way possible. The lyrics also feel like the words that would fit into a conversation between a couple in that scene. The guitar is haunting and engaging.

Hold On and To Be Loved

These two songs are grouped together because they are fairly similar. They’re both traditional Adele ballads, complete with emotional lyrics and powerful musical movement. These songs and “Easy on Me” are the only ones that are typical Adele, so if that’s what you’re looking for, add these ones to your playlist!

Love Is a Game

“Love Is a Game” is a downtrodden song. It’s pretty hopeless, filled with wistfulness and heartache. It closes out the album on an overall sad and yet powerful note, as Adele has done with past albums.

As different as the album may be, it is still classic Adele in many ways. I hope you all go listen to some of the songs soon! It won’t disappoint.

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