Adele’s 30 Is Just More Of The Same
I’ve always been a fan of Adele. Not in the sense that I buy concert tickets and watch her music videos as soon as they premiere, but in that I buy her albums and listen to her deep-cut tracks regularly.
So, I was pretty excited for her latest album, 30. I enjoyed “Easy On Me,” I love her voice; I was ready for more Adele.
Imagine my disappointment when, while listening to the album, I found myself thinking, “Wow, this is boring.”
Some of it may be because I’m not necessarily Adele’s target audience of 30-something women in long term relationships. While I can relate to the emotional turbulence of her earlier work, I can’t see myself in her new songs about divorce, ambivalence towards a romantic partner, and how much she loves her son.
However, isn’t the mark of a good artist that they make you relate? I listen to “Tears in Heaven” and I feel Eric Clapton’s pain and loss. I’ve never been to California, but I can see it in my mind when “California” by Joni Mitchell plays. I just can’t seem to find a way to connect with Adele’s new music.
Looking at it from a practical standpoint, the album is bloated. Five out of the twelve tracks on 30 are over six minutes. Now, I’m a fan of longer songs (not to bring up Clapton again, but the OG version of “Layla” is transcendent), but when you overload your album with them, the message is lost. It no longer seems like the artist had so much to say that they threw out radio-play guidelines, but like they started rambling and couldn’t stop.
It doesn’t help matters that Adele is known for a very specific sound. Big vocals, piano melodies, lyrics about relationships that run from fiery anger to weepy grief; put it in a blender and voila! You’ve got an Adele banger.
It’s obviously worked for the artist, but with 30, the formula is getting stale. Add in the fact that the songs run long, and it feels like the album is just one huge hour-long song about divorce.
I’m being harsh, I know, and it probably sounds like I have some weird vendetta against Adele, but I swear, I am a fan! I’ll keep listening to her old albums and cheer her on at award shows. But while some artists lose fans when they move in a new musical direction, Adele is losing me because she hasn’t changed at all.