Our singer Adele has been setting new standards for exactly the right reasons: massive chart success, career rejuvenation and attention from the adoring masses. On Wednesday, Hello shattered the record for most streamed single by a female artist on the Spotify service, it topped the Billboard Hot 100 for a record 27 weeks, and it has eight Grammys to its name.
Now her follow-up, 30, is a compelling look at the struggles in modern relationships, and the reality of post-40 life. While reviews are not totally clear on 30’s sound, there are a few holdouts that echo the public reception to Hello:
“Lyrically it’s very easy to situate Adele in a female context, but here, only slightly, we see her engaging with men in a nuanced way, which can be challenging for a songwriter to inhabit,” — The Telegraph.
“The sensuality, both sexual and emotional, is broad but not generic. It’s difficult to say whether Adele deliberately went down this path,” — The Guardian.
“The contours of love and romance, thanks to Adele’s writing, are imbued with depth and nuance” — The Guardian.
There are so many lyrics in 30 that it’s hard to list them all, but The New York Times brought us “hello” to explain it. Adele is confronted with a decision from a girl whose heart has been “broken open.”
And then the guy comes back, and he’s an idol, but he’s still someone you remember on Christmas Eve as a baby.
“30″ features a hip-hop opening, to illuminate the contemporary pressures on women to reveal their sexuality and their emotional vulnerabilities. “Do not apologize for your feelings,” he coos.
The music, by Adele, comes from the perspective of someone who truly believes she is “too old to understand,” the Times writes. “Adele knows herself so well that she can also make you think she’s real.”
According to a BBC survey, the average age of a woman who listened to Hello was 37, and that of those who listened to 30 was 45. But when it comes to releasing a follow-up to a hit single, 32 may be the new 20.
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