Adele is back, baby! And I don’t care if you’re single, coupled up, recently separated, or have never been married before: Today, we are all divorced.
30 is Adele’s first album in six years, which means we’ve all got six years’ worth of pent-up sobs to let out. Not the tears of betrayal we recently shed while listening to “All Too Well (10-Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (Watch Your Fuckin’ Back, Jake Version).” Not the yeehaw crying we all did for Kacey Musgraves’s recent album, star-crossed. I’m talking deep, guttural sobs that only Adele can evoke. If you’ve been waiting to have a good scream-sob in your car, to cry into some wine while soaking in a bath, to claim the title of Saddest Girl on the Subway, now’s the time, luv.
30 has organ music! It has an entire song called, “I Drink Wine”! It has Adele asking, “Can I get it?” Uh, yeah, Adele. You certainly can. There are voice notes interspersed throughout the album, which Adele has said was inspired by albums like Tyler, the Creator’s Call Me If You Get Lost. In one such note in the song “My Little Love,” Adele gently talks with her son about the divorce. Then, her son says, “Oi, I feel like you don’t love me.” [Weeps maternally and in British.]
What Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour was to young heartbreak and the bittersweetness of a first love, Adele’s 30 is to the amicable-but-still-painful end of a relationship you’ve grown out of. It’s sad and pissed off, hopeful and a little horny. It covers the scope of emotions — from grief to guilt to loneliness to relief — that come with ending a relationship, not because it was objectively bad or someone did something wrong, but because you are not happy.
In her recent interview with Oprah, Adele talked about a conversation she had with friends after taking a magazine quiz. (Maybe … I am Adele?) In revealing something her friends didn’t know about her, per the magazine’s prompt, she said, “I’m really not happy. I’m not living, I’m just plodding along.” Owie, my heart!
The final song, “Love Is a Game,” is like a reprise of the album as a whole. The nearly-seven-minute song nods to the vocals, the themes, the mix of emotions experienced throughout the rest of 30. “I love me now, like I loved him,” Adele sings, like the main character of pop ballads that she very much is, eventually concluding, “I’d do it all again like I did.” Well done, babes. Well done.