Adele retakes the throne as the reigning queen of pop with her new album, 30, and she sounds better than ever.
The expectations couldn't have been higher for Adele. Her break between albums was the longest of her career and with each passing year, anticipation climbed to unprecedented heights. Sure, we got albums from other pop titans, but no one can truly compare to Adele's world conquering status. When she finally dropped the lead single "Easy On Me," she shattered records, as expected, and continued to build the hype around her return. With 30 finally out in the world, we're treated to the private life Adele has kept under tight wraps for years and she reveals incredible vulnerability that somehow makes each of these new tracks somehow more heartbreaking than any of us could've imagined. There are some slower moments and some songs sound more like skits than bangers, but when we reach the epic finale, none of that seems to matter. "Hold On" starts to give us a slight peek of her powers, but it all truly comes down to "To Be Loved," a song that sets her apart and puts her in the same vanguard as other divas like Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin. She's accompanied only by a piano, played by collaborator Tobias Jesso Jr who also co-wrote "When We Were Young," and there is a wonderful balance between the melody and her isolated vocals. However, where their previous collaboration still felt playful and energized, "To Be Loved" is as devastating as it gets. A true ballad like no other. Her lyrics are front and center and instant tear jerkers. Her delivery, remarkable. Just when it seems like there isn't more she can push out, she unleashes an astounding finish that could bring down not just a house, but a whole damn stadium. The build climbs to unfathomable heights and Adele soars. She's without question the best voice of her generation and here, she sounds better than ever. "Let it be known that I tried" she belts, but Adele doesn't just try here, she ascends to upper echelon of greatness.
30 is out now via Columbia.