“Divorce, Baby, Divorce”.  By Liza Lentini

“Divorce, Baby, Divorce”. By Liza Lentini

. 4 min read

What is it about Adele that we love so much? Just about everything.

Adele's New Album 30 Dropped November 19th

“Divorce, baby, divorce,” is how Adele described her long-awaited new album, 30 (out November 19), via her very first Instagram Live. It’s been six long years and, with her teaser single “Easy on Me” as a prelude, it’s clear she’s ready and willing to pull the living shit out of our heartstrings yet again.

Most of us met Adele with her first chart-topper “Chasing Pavements” in February 2009—and were goners from the start. She announced herself as a powerhouse vocalist, with soul-searing songwriting and something else—that illusive and genuine magic—that makes someone a superstar. Like so many artists, she was presented and thus discovered and devoured by listeners, being one of the few artists to fill a deep, deep inner void. Finally, someone understood. That person was Adele.

With previous albums 19, 21 and 25, she’s shared musical poems, with love, memorably, in its most transformative and most heartbreaking state. “First Love” from 19, captures that conflicting turmoil of passion, wanting more and understanding, perhaps for the first time, that people change and relationships end. “Someone Like You”, off of 21, could potentially be a continuation of this love story, or another which left a tiny, burning ember still very much alive, one that leaves one of them always wonderin —and hoping. And “Hello”, from 25, may very well be the final chapter. Because the singer is from the “other side” some say she’s died, but I like to think it’s a metaphorical death, moving onto a new physical and emotional place, because there’s no going back to “when we were younger and free”.

This time around, 30 marks her age when she married her husband Simon Konecki in 2018. Now 33, and having finalized their divorce in March, this album proves to be possibly her most soul-baring yet. When she announced the album in October via social media, she told us: “I was certainly nowhere near where I’d hoped to be when I first started it nearly three years ago… And yet there I was knowingly – willingly even, throwing myself into a maze of absolute mess and inner turmoil!” Fans flipped, tissues in hand, ready to work things through with her, empathic soldiers at the ready.

So, then, what is it about Adele?

As Features Editor at SPIN, I write, read and talk about music all day long. I receive literally hundreds of pitches and releases every week about musicians—all of them beaming with talent. Some will choose to stay in an industry sadly known for eating fine souls for breakfast. Some, rarely, will achieve ultimate and lasting stardom. It’s often unknown, truly, how these fates are precisely allotted.

In Adele’s case, though, we do know. Though 30 marks a period of extreme heartbreak, the traditionally very private singer has chosen to reveal a bit more of herself publicly, just enough to continue to qualify as undoubtedly human. She was in her early twenties when she became a star, and though it would seem she’s grown up with us, we’ve actually grown up with her, watchful eyes modeling her graceful approach to fame with a genuine realness and a double dose of reality. When her album 25 won six Grammy Awards in 2017, she actually claimed Beyoncé’s Lemonade should have won instead: "I felt like it was her time to win. My view is, kind of, what the f--k does she have to do to win Album of the Year?" Humility and integrity at the helm, she was born for this.

That said, if we know anything, it’s that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. And what’s more enticing than seeing a real-live unicorn step out of their private lair to make us laugh (see SNL for reference). She’s smart, funny, quick-witted, her rich cockney accent keeping her down-to-earth with the rest of us mere mortals. For someone who early on established herself as a non-attention seeker, it’s thrilling to watch her step seamlessly between worlds.

More than anything, Adele—via her music reminds us that through our vulnerability, we can find our deepest strength. Her first singles are as stunning and timeless today as they were back then, this is the stuff stars are made of. No matter where she goes or how she does it, she’s taking us along for the ride.

Liza Lentini is an award-winner writer and editor. She is currently the Features Editor at SPIN.

Take me back to the Crush Letter No 38

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