Adele's 30 reviews: What's the verdict of her comeback album?

19 November 2021, 13:09 | Updated: 19 November 2021, 14:35

Have you listened to Adele's new album yet?
Have you listened to Adele's new album yet? Picture: Columbia Records

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

Adele's first album in six years, 30, has one of the most highly-anticipated releases in recent history.

After teasing the release for weeks and the album's lead single 'Easy On Me' breaking numerous records, it's finally here.

It's been a long time since the release of 25, and Adele herself went through a post-divorce transformation, both physically and emotionally having stepped back from the spotlight for several years.

30 agonisingly sees her revisit the pain and turmoil she experienced throughout that period in her life, documenting and confronting it with refreshing candour.

Read more: Adele emotionally opens up about reconciling with dad just days before his death this year

She whipped fans into a frenzy once they got a whiff of her return, crashing the website after announcing she would play two comeback shows for British Summer Time Hyde Park next year.

But does 30 meet the weight of expectation? Is it worth the wait?

It would seem so. In fact, it's being heralded as her greatest work yet.

The Telegraph seems to think so, claiming that 30 is "certainly her strongest album yet, a work of catharsis, therapy and succour."

"It does what pop music is greatest at: gathering up emotions, focusing them and pouring them out to songs that everybody can sing, but few can sing quite as well as Adele."

Read more: Adele shares the blooper reel from 'Easy On Me' video shoot: watch here

Equally Rolling Stone magazine lauded her return, saying that "Adele has never sounded more ferocious than she does on 30—more alive to her own feelings, more virtuosic at shaping them into songs in the key of her own damn life. It’s her toughest, most powerful album yet."

Variety also heaped praise on 30, calling it "an album that meets the breach with enough wrenching, life-and-death drama to leave you completely spent by the time its hour is up, then ready to immediately reinvest. Because, besides being that exhausting, it’s also that good."

Adele recently opened up to Oprah and performed exclusively for CBS Television Network in Adele: One Night Only. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images)
Adele recently opened up to Oprah and performed exclusively for CBS Television Network in Adele: One Night Only. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

The acclaim keeps coming from over stateside. The New York Times' review said: "Even as she sings about desperation and uncertainty, on 30 Adele’s voice is more supple and purposeful than ever, articulating every consonant and constantly ornamenting her melodies without distracting from them. Details are fastidious."

Read more: Adele talks about divorce, her son and weight loss in Oprah interview ahead of new album

Los Angeles Times drew comparison between Adele and legends like Joni Mitchell in their review: "30 offers deep thoughts on love’s causes and consequences. ... Adele’s singing — soaring yet pulpy, gorgeous even at its rawest (as in 'To Be Loved') — gives these musings the blood-and-guts believability her fans crave."

"There’s some of the brainy energy of Joni Mitchell’s Blue here, though it’s filtered through the homey wisdom of Carole King’s Tapestry ... Until people stop breaking one another’s hearts, we’ll keep needing ugly-cry ballads — and nobody does those better than Adele."

The Independent praised her immense vocals: "The songs themselves are good. Grounded in pathos, they tend to be handsomely crafted ballads about love and its various agonies – but it’s her vocals that sell them."

The reviews are in for Adele's new album...
The reviews are in for Adele's new album... Picture: Simon Emmett/Columbia Records/PA

The Guardian and the NME weren't quite as sycophantic, both agreeing that it was a tried and tested formula suggesting that Adele played it safe.

Read more: Adele's new album: '30' release date, tracklist, videos and all you need to know

NME three-star review said: "Though this is her most creative record to date, the lyrics stick to safer territory."

"You couldn’t blame Adele for declining to even tinker with a formula that clearly ain’t broke. But she does, and it makes for 30’s highlights." was The Guardian's verdict which they also gave three stars.

All-in-all, it's looking like Adele's masterpiece, her magnum opus. There's plenty more reviews to roll in, and it's a safe bet they'll be in agreement.