A Raw and Real Release: Adele’s new album and the concert that followed
By Emme Larkins, Contributor
Adele did not take it easy on me. The superstar’s long-awaited number one single dropped a month prior to the album, causing buckets of tears to be shed around the world – I’m still icing my eyes – and of course, anticipation grew.
The biggest question on fans’ minds following the drop of “Easy On Me” was the album name. When the easter eggs began to drop, those fans were thrilled the artist continued her trend – the album is, simply, 30, of course.
Listening to 30 feels like you are immersed in someone’s diary, and just like a diary, Adele insists on the songs being listened to in sequence. Even Spotify removed the shuffle feature as a default when listening to an album — a first for the app.
30 is raw, emotional and at times a lot to handle as Adele explores divorce, struggles with alcohol and anxiety. As listeners, Adele unlocks an empathy within us where we feel we understand her completely – and perhaps she understands us more.
The album opens with “Strangers By Nature,” intimate and sorrowful. It’s a bitter-sweet goodbye to past lovers as she transitions into “Easy On Me,” already a hit at the time of release. Next is “My Little Love” bringing tears to the listener’s eyes in seconds. With lyrics and voice memos, Adele’s intense love for her son, Angelo reverberates. Listening feels almost inappropriate.
While the name 30 is a perfect transition from her last album, 25, the music is often unexpected. Fans have always felt the singer deserves a genre of her own. With tracks like “Cry Your Heart Out” and “Can I Get It” we see a fresh, experimental side of the classic ballad artist.
Though the songs are beautifully written, musically unique and brilliantly produced, they are unusually personal and speak to Adele’s hyper-specific experience. Some find this intimacy uncomfortable and prefer her easier listening sing-along songs like “Rolling in the Deep.” If you’re ready for the emotions that come with it, 30 is a must-listen, with tracks like “Oh My God” already joining “Easy On Me” on the charts.
With the drop of “Easy on Me”, the buzz began around Adele’s televised one-night-only concert and Oprah interview. Fans rejoiced at the idea of seeing the artist perform and promptly cancelled all plans on Nov. 14 to watch.
Held at the stunning Griffith Observatory of Los Angeles, the backdrop competed with Adele for attention. She strutted on stage, hair in her signature beehive and stunting a luxurious black gown and statement Saturn earrings.
The artist opened the show with an obvious choice, “Hello.” Accompanied by only the piano, the song felt more personal – touched with the profound emotional events of the performer’s past five years. Adele’s pitch was stellar and steadfast as she moved into “Easy On Me.”
Timed perfectly, the California sun appropriately began to set as the opening chords of “Skyfall” are heard. We’re treated to grand camera angles, as her full band finally joins in a swell of sound. Following her James Bond moment is the never-heard-before “I Drink Wine,” despite the relatable and quippy title we quickly learn from the lyrics and anguish in Adele’s voice that the piece is ripe with emotion.
She sings, “When I was a child/ Every single thing could blow my mind/ Soaking it all up for fun/ But now I only soak up wine.” The sun has set on Griffith Observatory and we start to see vivid projections cast on the building behind Adele.
Following the new track are the classics, “Someone Like You” from 21, “When We Were Young” from 25 and her famous cover of “Make You Feel My Love” from 19. As “When We Were Young” plays, we see images of the artist growing up move in the background, her younger self smiling and laughing – a nod to less complicated times. She also shares with the live audience and those watching from home that this is her first show that her son has attended.
Next up is another song from 30, “Hold On” where she seems to be encouraging herself. “Rolling In The Deep,” the artist’s third-best selling song of all time, follows as a projection of waves crashing dances behind Adele and the elite Hollywood audience joins in dancing and laughing.
We are ushered out of the event by the outro to Adele’s 30, an appropriate choice, “Love Is A Game.” This song is a soul-crushing masterpiece packed with emotion and heartbreak. A fabulous song to close both the album and concert with the final words … “I’d do it all again, like I did it.”
And to that, I say thank god you did it, Adele, and thank you for doing it once again.