NEW YORK, November 18 – Six years after Adele’s last hit exploration of heartache and loss, everyone’s favorite ugly screaming ballad is back, channeling its vocal fireworks to lay bare the emotional torture – and catharsis – of divorce.
Following on from his other three records, the British artist’s highly anticipated new studio album 30.
The first single from the album easy on me has ruled the US and UK charts since its debut four weeks ago, proving the enduring strength of Adele’s prowess as a hitmaker with wide appeal.
His record falls after years without headlines and a period of musical silence, defying current pop standards for fast, streaming-friendly hits and an urgent social media presence.
But Adele’s announcement this fall that a new album would soon sever the soundtrack and melancholic contemplation from around the world sparked a media blitz, including vogue and rolling stone cover stories as well as a prime-time interview with Oprah Winfrey in a televised concert that drew more than 10 million viewers in the United States.
In the years since the 15-Grammy Award winner’s final album 25 – which included the megahit Hello – Adele’s nearly decade-long relationship with Simon Konecki, including two years of marriage, has been dissolved.
She sifted through the fallout from this traumatic time for 30, probing its implications for his own life but also for his nine-year-old son with Konecki, Angelo.
“There were times when I was writing the record or I was listening to something and I was like, ‘Maybe it’s a little too private, maybe it’s a little too much about myself to say it,'” she told Winfrey.
“But nothing is as scary as what I’ve been through for the past two or three years behind closed doors. So I’m not afraid of what people may or may not know.
‘I want to live’
While the 12 tracks 30 includes the Adele playbook – those slow, mournful stories of feeling abandoned and alone – she does not re-enact her previous work.
The new album sees the now 33-year-old megastar marry his classic piano pop with new inflections of Motown and reggae, Afrobeat and dance music.
But it’s Adele’s polished writing delivered in her smoky, volcanic range that does the heavy lifting on 30.
“They say play hard, work hard, find the balance in sacrifice,” she says. I drink wine, a track that evolves from a 1970s groove to a gospel choir-backed meditation on self-acceptance.
“And yet, I don’t know anyone who is really satisfied.
In love in the dark she sings “I want to live and not just survive”.
“I really felt like that,” she told Winfrey. “But it was when I let my own friends who thought I was really happy know that I was actually really unhappy and they all gasped. I felt like it was from there I was, like, ‘What am I doing? Why am I doing this?’
A part of 30, she said vogue, was a way to process the answers to the big questions her son had about his parents’ separation, things that are hard for a nine-year-old to “understand.”
“My little love,” she sings in a song dedicated to her son, which also includes recordings of voice memos of conversations with Angelo. “I see your eyes / Widen like an ocean / When you look at me / So full of my emotions.”
The North Londoner who now lives in Los Angeles is rare in the music industry in terms of the breadth of her fanbase, which includes people who listen to terrestrial radio and buy physical albums while hundreds of millions of others disseminate his work.
Along with the wave of positive reviews coming in, her new record is set to be another resounding commercial success.
But no matter the numbers 30 done, Adele swears it will remain a job that is dear to her.
“It’s sensitive for me, this record, how much I love it,” she told Vogue.
“I always say that 21 doesn’t belong to me anymore,” she continued, referring to her acclaimed second album.
“Everyone took it so much to their hearts. I’m not letting this one down. This is my album. I want to share myself with everyone, but I don’t think I’ll let this one down. — AFP