Arts, Music, Review

Adele’s ’30’ Fails to Deliver Impactful Vocal Performance

★★★☆☆

It’s going to be impossible to avoid 30 by Adele for at least the next few months. Her songs will likely dominate the radio stations and popular Spotify playlists. One of the biggest artists in the world has come back with a new record released on Nov. 19, after her album 25 set the world on fire. 30 doesn’t quite live up to the hype of her previous record, but Adele still manages to make a dramatic return to the music world—delivering an emotionally rich catalogue of songs. 

Although Adele has proven herself to be one of the best vocalists of the last decade, one of the most disappointing aspects of 30 is the singer’s vocal performance. It’s not that she sounds bad on 30. It’s just that she doesn’t push herself as far as she has in the past. There aren’t many of the standout moments that Adele is known for, such as the memorable crescendos in the choruses of “Rolling in the Deep” and “When We Were Young.” 

Adele’s new songs don’t build up to sudden high notes or intense moments of drama. “Easy On Me” is one of the few tracks where it sounds like she’s giving an iconic Adele vocal performance, but the backup vocals and instrumentation drown her out at times. 



Despite falling short with her vocal performance, the new album highlights Adele’s lyrical evolution as she explores new topics in her songs. Multiple songs on 30 are concerned with the struggles of being a parent. “My Little Love” paints the picture of a depressed mother trying desperately to hide her pain from her son. Recurring feelings of exhaustion and pain arise in Adele’s lyrics. She writes about the painful experience of her recent divorce with “Love Is A Game” and “Woman Like Me.” With her soulful voice, she expresses frustration with the growing emotional disconnect between her and her partner. 

Adele also adds an experimental element to the album by adding natural soundbytes to some of the songs. In “My Little Love,” Adele uses voice recordings of her son to depict their close relationship and ends the track with a powerful voicemail. It’s an interesting look into the singer’s personal life, depression, and her relationship with her son. In an interview with Vogue, Adele said that the choice to include this audio was inspired by rappers Tyler, the Creator and Skepta.

Adele’s 30 might stick around longer than it should. There are not a lot of the big moments she’s known for and the second half of the album becomes repetitive. But, the occasional moments of high drama and the raw emotion on a lot of these tracks make the inevitable next year of Adele on the radio much more manageable.

Featured Image Courtesy of Columbia Records

December 5, 2021
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