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Readers review Adele’s 30: ‘so powerful’ or a ‘depressive black hole’? | Adele


‘Best album so far’

Joe.
Joe from Oxford.

It’s so upfront and honest. You know exactly the story she’s telling, and even if you haven’t experienced divorce yourself, you feel every word of it. Her voice is sounding better than it’s ever done, using so much more of her range – just listen to Love is A Game. Gone are the lofty metaphors that hint at heartbreak, replaced with extremely raw and naked lyrics that welcome you in to her experiences. I think it’s much more poetic than before. Best album so far.

I’ve listened to the album in full four times now, and I really like the order of songs, particularly the more upbeat, less typical Adele-sounding tracks at the end of the first half. Recognising that Adele put Strangers By Nature first, and Love is A Game last gives both more weighting and context, as I think the latter very much sounds like the resolution. However, I think it is absolutely fine for people to go and listen to their favourites off the album in whichever order you choose – if that wasn’t the case then you wouldn’t have singles! Joe, 24, student, Oxford

‘Boring – I switched to listening to 21’

Boring. It’s so slow with so many lyrics, the music feels mostly the same. I was disappointed so switched to listening to her 21 album. Aysin, 48, engineer, Istanbul

‘It’s really brave’

Leyla Pinarbasi.
Leyla Pinarbasi.

I think it’s wonderful and is Adele’s most raw and personal album. When I heard the voice note of Adele explaining her loneliness on My Little Love it made me cry. I think sometimes it’s easy to somewhat dehumanise famous people and I think this album really makes us understand that Adele is a real person with real feelings, real emotions and, like the rest of us, real problems. It’s completely candid, sincere, raw and so so powerful. Adele has always been a very private person (particularly about her son, Angelo) and the sharing of these voice notes in the album, which are actually really difficult to hear, is really brave.

What I love most about this album though, is that it really communicates the journey that Adele went on throughout her divorce. I’ve been a huge fan of Adele since her first album, 19, and although I love the youthful innocence of her earlier music, I really recognise that Adele has ‘found herself’ with this album. Her voice sounds the best it’s ever been and To be Loved is a real showpiece for me. Please excuse the cliché but Adele is much like a fine wine – she gets better with age. I listened to the album in order and I think it’s great that Adele requested this of Spotify. As she explained herself, artists spend a lot of time deciding on the track lists for their albums and they often tell an important story, so dipping in and out of an album doesn’t really allow you to appreciate it fully in my opinion. Leyla Pinarbasi, 28, property manager, Altrincham, Cheshire

‘This album will go down in history’

Jacob George.
Jacob George. Photograph: Jacob George

I think it’s art – it’s different but gorgeous. It’s something special and feels like it’s going to kick off another great Gatsby era of music. It’s different and her writing is out of this world. This is going to be the album for people all around the world going through some sort of hardship especially with relationships. This one is going to go down in history. Jacob George, 18, student, Goodyear, Arizona, US

‘A step up from her previous albums’

Deeply personal, intimate and emotional are Adele’s musical trademarks, but this time she goes further. We all know the people and events involved and we have those voice notes of her conversations with Angelo. Listening to them feels almost intrusive, and I’m unsure about the ethics of recording and broadcasting these intimate moments with a nine-year-old child.

I loved 30, though. The selection of music and collaborators works wonderfully well to showcase her vocal talents, which have never been better. Her ability to take us with her on an emotional journey remains unique and undiminished. I’m glad she waited six years for such an accomplished piece of work, rather than producing something that merely kept the pot boiling. It will be a long time before I have had enough of 30, and I think this is a step up from her previous albums. It tells a coherent story with a more grown up sound (or set of sounds) than her earlier work. Simon Anderson, 61, retired, Chester

‘The overall feel is way too morose’

Emil McMahon
Emil McMahon.

I’ve listened to 30 twice now and I’m afraid it doesn’t do it for me. The “chat” that drops into some of the songs is a tad twee, and the overall feel is way too morose, even by Adele’s normal standards. I applaud her for pushing herself to create something different, but as is often the case with artists following a massive success with their last album, the “try too hard” vibe kicks in.

I feel with a lot of artists who achieve incredible success that the pressure to stay fresh while appealing to their fan base proves too great, and the finished result tends to be incohesive. In this instance, I think the classic Adele sound works without the gimmicks. Of course I fully accept that this is easy for me to say as I have not had the challenge of following up a multimillion-selling album myself! Emil Mcmahon, 61, social media consultant, Edinburgh

‘Could have done with a bit of pruning’

It doesn’t start off great, My Little Love is awful and is the worse Adele song by far. The album gets going at song four, Cry Your Heart Out, but trails off towards the end. I think perhaps a bit of pruning would have helped instead, maybe making it around 45 minutes or so. From the high of 21 the albums are starting to get weaker. Robert Carty, 53, accountant, Dublin

‘There isn’t a single song I’ve disliked until this album’

Hannah from Kent.
Hannah from Kent.

I am a huge Adele fan, having loved her since the Chasing Pavements days. There isn’t a single song I have disliked until this album. I can understand songs tell stories, however, it is still a song to be sung along to and I don’t want to have to stop singing a belter out every 30 seconds to hear someone’s son’s voice. Listening to her songs, I can’t help but feel slightly detached from them; this is a woman singing about life events that most of us have to go through and should be relatable. I can’t see myself belting out any of these songs after a few glasses or when I fancy a pity party after my boyfriend has annoyed the hell out of me.

Unfortunately I think it’s probably the weakest of all her albums. The idea of listening to her songs as if it were a novel unfolding is a really unique idea, however in this day and age, where you’re downloading songs digitally and not forced to listen to them in a particular order on a CD, or if you don’t particularly like tracks one to four then having an order to listen to the songs to is irrelevant and just a bit of a gimmick. Hannah, 27, farmer, Kent

‘There is no “lovely place” on this album’

On first play it was hard to listen to in full. Adele’s voice is in fine form, however it seems to be all or nothing – there is no “lovely” place on this album where you can wallow in the melody and poetry. I admire her for putting it all out there but I believe it comes at a price and I really don’t like the voice notes.

I think 30 is a natural progression but after listening I immediately thought, I can’t wait to hear the next album. Like: “OK she’s got this out of her system now, let’s hear that voice sing to us in joy and fun.” Apart from a couple of tracks on 30, I think 25 will still be my go to album. Alex, 57, government worker, Melbourne, Australia

‘It feels like she wrote 12 magnolia tracks’

Harvey Pincay Novillo.
Harvey Pincay Novillo.

I have long been a fan of Adele, since she became part of a world where everyone fights to be the same, she beautifully played her true self. Of late she seems to have become a brand and I don’t believe it anymore. Whenever I listen to a new music album I start from the beginning and listen in order as there is often a story, and if you are a keen listener of lyrics it makes sense. I didn’t like the first words of Strangers by Nature – “I’ll be taking flowers to the cemetery of my heart” just seems all insanely doom and gloom.

I liked Easy on Me because it started sad and turned into hope and that was powerful, but the rest doesn’t seem to flow for me. I found the sound quite dreary and with poor diction I struggled to make out what she was saying at times. I can’t put my finger on what it was that I expected, but when I heard it my heart sank with disappointment. I was just sucked into a depressive black hole. It feels like she just wrote 12 magnolia tracks. Harvey Pincay Novillo, 38, sales, Worcestershire



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