Before Oct. 15, singer-songwriter Adele had not released any new music since the release of her album “25” in 2015, leaving her fans to replay older hits like “Hello,” “All I Ask” and “Water Under the Bridge.”
However, Oct. 15 marked the day she released her single “Easy on Me,” a song that soon became a hit and number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart, according to a New York Times article published Oct. 25.
Around a month later, she released “30,” an album that listeners realized has a different style from her older works.
“I think 30 is definitely different [from] her previous albums. I’m a big fan of her older works, but I like seeing her combine her style with some newer sounds and elements in ‘30,’” journalism and cinema and media studies major Lauren Reeder said. “I’m just excited to have another Adele album in general… I never expected for her to release more music.”
Reeder has listened to most of the songs from the album, like “Easy On Me,” “Oh My God,” “Strangers By Nature” and “Cry Your Heart Out.” While listening to Adele’s music, she also noticed the impact of social media in the popularity of the album.
“I think social media plays a huge role in whose music is successful. So many people occupy social media,” Reeder said. “I think Adele’s song ‘Easy On Me’ became part of a TikTok trend, too.”
But even with the general hype of Adele’s new music, critics believe that her new album doesn’t live up to the expectation; “Easy On Me,” a slow piano ballad that preceded the release of “30,” had set the expectation that the tone of her album would be similar to the sentimental single.
“Releasing ‘Easy On Me,’ and it going viral on TikTok, definitely influenced what people expected from her album,” physics and astronomy junior Lacey Allee-Press said. “In my opinion, ‘Easy On Me’ is the most similar to her previous work, so I think it made people expect more of the same. And when she released something different, they didn’t like it.”
Allee-Press, who has “always been an Adele fan,” has listened to all the songs from “30” and found that these newer tracks evoke feelings of heartbreak and feel more personal: “the storytelling… makes it feel like you are going through everything with her.”
According to Vogue’s November 2021 issue, “30” was inspired by Adele’s personal experiences and self-reflections within the past few years. And while “30” varies from her previous discography, some still find a deep appreciation for the new album.
“Despite a lot of widespread belief that this album isn’t as good as her previous albums, I think it’s just as powerful… I think it’s strange of people to expect her to put out similar media after more than 6 years,” Allee-Press said. “She’s changed a lot over this time, and I like the different feel of her music. The jazzy tones of many of her songs feel dark and nostalgic, while her belty ballads feel more emotionally raw than ever.”