19 November 2021

Adele 30 reviews: What the critics had to say about the singer’s ‘rawest, riskiest and best’ album yet

19 November 2021

Adele’s highly anticipated fourth album 30 is finally out and the critics’ verdict seems generally unanimous - it’s a hit.

Inspired by her divorce from ex-husband Simon Konecki and the impossible task of trying to explain it all to her nine-year-old son, Adele hasn’t held back.

Rolling Stone has described it as “the best Adele album yet,” while Variety declared it her “rawest, riskiest and best”.

And that was just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what the critics had to say.

The Mirror (five stars)

“We hear her bitterness, anger, remorse and shame laid bare in a collection of Motown-inspired, soulful songs that crescendo into the epic piano ballad To Be Loved, before Adele finally concedes that Love Is A Game only fools would play, and defiantly declares she ain’t fooling anymore. “Divorce never sounded so good.”

The Sun (five stars)

“Her latest songs combine to form one of the most carefully crafted, considered and brilliant records I’ve heard in a long time – if not ever.”

Evening Standard (four stars)

“’Mummy’s been having a lot of big feelings,’ she told her son earlier on [in the album]. Mummy isn’t the only one who’ll need a lie down after being thoroughly wrung out by this devastating comeback.”

The Times (four stars)

“By most people’s standards 30 would be a huge achievement. I Drink Wine is a tender reflection on navigating the vicissitudes of adulthood that has shades of Tapestry-era Carole King. Can I Get It is a storming radio hit with Ennio Morricone-style whistling and a groove you can dance to. But this comes from the woman who gave us Rolling in the Deep and Someone Like You, eternal encapsulations of fun and sadness. The Whitney Houston-like mega-ballad To Be Loved, which sounds as though it was intended as the album’s big emotional moment but is far too overblown to be truly poignant, just doesn’t cut to the core in the way those songs did.

Of course, none of this will stop 30 from being a smashing success. With its my-heart-will-go-on epics against (mostly) tasteful arrangements, it is a grown-up, sophisticated, middle-of-the-road album that is accessible to all.”

Los Angeles Times (off the planet!)

“When we talk about Adele’s singing — when we’ve talked about it over the past decade as she became the biggest pop vocalist on the planet — we’ve tended to marvel at her control, her finesse, her mastery of tone.

“But in the most moving song on her long-awaited new album, Adele threatens to crash through all that.”

“It’s almost frightening, this song, in its intensity: A slow, stark, 6 1/2-minute voice-and-piano ballad about learning to let go of trauma, To Be Loved — the next-to-last cut on the 12-track 30, due Friday — climaxes with what can only be described as a howl of pain, Adele’s famous God-given instrument so volcanic that it’s hard to believe everybody in Los Angeles didn’t stop on the day she recorded it and wonder what they just heard.”

Adele’s 30 is out November 19.

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