Updated: Feb 18
By Annika M. Baldwin
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For close to five years, Adele has been out of the spotlight, hiding within the shadows of her private life. During this period, she endured a divorce, discovered a love for the gym (losing an amount of weight that resulted in immense paparazzi coverage) and finally prepared to release another album.
Following her previous albums 19, 21 and 25, 30 is an emergent collection that speaks on motherhood, root causes of heartbreak and reclaiming one’s self.
“Reemergence,” as Vogue’s Abby Aguirre calls it in her interview with Adele on her new life and new album. “I’m not having these people I don’t know take my legacy, my story away from me, and decide what I can leave behind or what I can take with me,” Adele told Aguirre.
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Many of Adele's tattoos represent her period of difficulty. For example, she has one of the planet Saturn on her wrist, demonstrating when she lost herself between 27 and 32 years old (which is how long it takes Saturn to return to the position it was when you were born). Another tattoo exhibits a mountain, representing a conversation with her friend.
“'You will get there. And you’ll have a nice leisurely stroll down. And then there’ll be another...mountain.' And I’m like, I’m not even over this one yet. And she was like, 'That's just life.'"
Over time, Adele began to regain life- working out in the gym to quell her anxiety and recording meaningful songs in her studio.
According to Aguirre, Adele feels that 21 belongs to her fans rather than to herself-- but 30 will stay hers. “This is my album,” Adele told Aguirre. “I want to share myself with everyone, but I don't think I’ll ever let this one go.”
The brilliance of 30 lies in Adele’s inspiration behind the songs. The songs on her previous albums tended, she noted, to accuse others of breaking her or being the root of her problems. Over time, though, she realized that she was perhaps the trend in her broken relationships. The senses of regret, forgiveness, and reinvention are exceptionally prominent.
“My Little Love” is written about Adele’s nine-year-old son Angelo and her love for him. It was written the day after the then-six-year-old asked, “Can you see me? ‘Cause I can’t see you.” Between verses, the song involves snippets of conversation between Adele and Angelo.
“Hold On” has a beautiful chorus that features Adele’s close friends singing a refrain, rather than an actual choir. They sing, “Just hold on” over and over again, symbolizing the ways they supported her throughout her difficult time.
“Easy On Me,” the lead single of the album, is a “Hello”-like ballad written with the same co-writer, Greg Kurstin. This impactful song, touching millions already, answers many of the hardest questions Angelo has asked Adele, involving her divorce and life. She asks him to “go easy on me” as she approaches her battles and tries to move through them, still loving him.
There are a number of other songs on the album that are highly anticipated by fans and critics alike, but nevertheless, it is the meaning behind this album as a whole that makes it so incredible and awaited.
“It’s wild,” Adele said to Aguirre, “I’m a 33-year-old divorced mother of a son, who’s actually in charge…I know what I want. And I really know what I don’t want.”
She has reclaimed her image through therapy, songwriting, fitness, tattoos and more. She is unafraid of who she she is and where she is headed. Even when her son questions her decisions, she has learned to stay true and firm, reaching to that place deep inside of her.
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As seen in the above pictures, there is more to Adele than the picture-perfect, curated image audiences might expect. Her authenticity in her pain and mental health is what makes her a true queen.
She is, as she told Vogue, preparing to be popular and famous again. But, even in her period of seclusion, Adele never stopped being a role model and idol. Whatever size she is, whatever relationship she is in, whatever choices she makes, she is unapologetically human, and that’s something all audiences can relate to and appreciate.
Adele’s 30 will be dropping on streaming services as well as vinyl and CDs on November 19, 2021!