We take a look at Adele’s latest album, and the fourth in the singer’s career, titled ‘30’. Released in November last year, the album shot up straight to the top of major charts and streaming services. It proved Adele to be that rare artist who remains private in her life, but when she does appear and drops an album, it crushes all competition. But is ‘30’ really worth the hype? Read more to find out…

We also look at a new rock record titled ‘Things Take Time, Take Time’ by Australian musician Courtney Barnett, the ‘Snacktime’ EP by Japanese all-girl group ATARASHII GAKKO!, remix record ‘Seeking Thrills After Hours’ by English producer Georgia, and the official soundtrack of the 2021 sports drama, ‘Bruised’, which is now on Netflix


’30’ by Adele

  • Genre: Neo-soul, pop
  • Highlights: “Easy On Me”
  • Release date: November 19, 2021

After releasing three smash-hit albums, ‘19’, ‘21’ and ‘25’, Adele has released her most thematically mature record so far, titled, quite unsurprisingly, ‘30’.

There are few influences in this record, or perhaps similarities, which some soul-pop listeners will recognize and enjoy the record even more. For example, the opening track, “Strangers By Nature”, sounds like a Celeste song. It’s a whimsical, flighty and fairy-tale type ballad. By the time we get to the harmonisation, it sounds utterly magical, like a Christmas ballad. It also has a sweet 1950s Broadway sound to it. It’s definitely an intriguing way to usher in listeners into her album after leaving them dry with no new music for over five years.

Then we get to “Easy On Me”, which was released as a single, and had helped build up massive amounts of hype for the singer. It is a smashing single with tremendous replay value with the chorus being ecstatic, cathartic and satisfying, all at the same time.

Adele is at her best here as she feels every word she sings and every vocal inflection she makes, and we feel them with her.

“My Little Love” is a more low-key track. It has intriguing aspects due to Adele Adkins using voice recordings of her speaking to her little son. It’s a glimpse into a star’s inner life. We hear the songbird and her son express their love to each other and it is truly adorable. Adele then goes on to sing about how her life as a star has caused the mother to not spend as much time with her son as she would have wished. It is not an uncommon trope for a superstar to discuss guilt regarding absence; it was explored in 2018 with Lily Allen’s ballad, “Three”. Perhaps, if we had “My Little Love” put towards the end of the album, then it would have a more poignant effect on the listener.

One of the strongest and most memorable songs in this LP, however, is “Oh My God”: a powerful, passionate performance that will exhilarate the fans of both Adele and contemporary soul pop. Adele’s power-packed vocals will leave listeners in the thrall of the star, especially when she finally performs this track live. Another strong track is “I Drink Wine”, but appears two tracks later. “Can Get lt” is another thunderous pop-rock influenced soul music in the veins of singer Jetta’s 2014 EP ‘Start A Riot’.

Perhaps, ‘30’ would have been a much tighter album if Adele & co. had included all these powerful anthems, mentioned previously, in the first half of the record while putting the slower, and more laidback sounds, such as “My Little Love” and “Strangers By Nature” towards the tail end of the record, thus giving a smoother feel. Personally, this author thinks that Lorde’s album ‘Melodrama’ and Fiona Apple’s “Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ suffered from a similar problem as ‘30’, in that instead of grouping faster, louder tracks separately from the slower tracks, all the tracks were intermixed with each other. This, in a way, resulted in an awkward tracklist, listening to which caused a constant acceleration in the listeners’ musical experience.

‘30’ seems to be an amalgamation of all her past records and sounds, having the raging, band sound of ’25’ with some more minimal, stripped songs of ’21’. Like a crossroad, this latest pop-soul record lies perfectly in between these two albums.

While commercially a success, ‘30’ upon its release was still a far cry from the rapturous response that ‘21’ and ‘25’ (especially with the single “Hello”) received in 2011 and 2015, respectively. By Adele Adkins’ standards, ‘30’s reception has been somewhat lukewarm. Perhaps, it needed a better rollout with one more single being released before the entire album was dropped. Perhaps, “Woman Like Me” could have been that single.

Regardless, ‘30’ is far from a terrible record, containing some rather wistful, painful and nostalgic moments mixed with those of passion, anger and ecstasy. Adele fans will, especially, relish this record. Here’s to hoping that the thirty-year old artist will be more consistent in dropping her future music, if she so wishes.

Stream ’30’ on Spotify

Listen to the album on YouTube


‘Things Take Time, Take Time’ by Courtney Barnett

  • Genre: Rock
  • Highlights: “If You Gotta Go”, “Take It Day By Day”, “Splendour”, “Write A List of Things to Look Forward To”
  • Release date: November 12, 2021 

The Australian musician’s third studio album is cosy and relaxing, and almost tired, with the sleepy vocals of Barnett slithering throughout the songs.

The energy, angst and sharp lyricism present in the previous record of Barnett, such as ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think… and Sometimes I Just Sit’, are absent here mostly. Some listeners would even go so far as to comment that the artist refuses to switch up her style and themes. The longer an artist stays as herself, soon enough she becomes a parody of herself. Perhaps there is some value to that phrase, because many of the tracks in ‘Things Take Time do seem to have the dry observation and amusement of Barnett, but without the acerbic humour that we had come to know.

Others, however, will not dislike this record as much, seeing the LP not so much as an unhumorous album lacking cynicism or a sharp tongue, instead preferring to see it as Barnett maturing and stripping away her said cynicism, and perhaps, even finding peace. After all, ‘Things Take Time’ is tender and comforting, it’s warmer and sunnier than any of Courtney’s previous works. So this take could have some truth in it. 34-year-old Barnett cannon-balled into the indie rock scene with the double whammy of ‘A Sea of Peas’ and ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think…’. They had some heavy bangers, with that signature angsty, anger-driven guitar. In contrast to that, the new album is more content and peaceful such as “Rae Street”.

There are also some catchy tunes in the record, such as the four singles released before the album dropped (Courtney and co. have done a great job with the album rollout and the choices for singles). The four singles released preceding the album are “Rae Street”, “If You Gotta Go”, “Write A List of Things To Look Forward To” and “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight” all of which have that Courtney dryness and observational songwriting about eccentric characters, but is more heartwarming and warm. “Write A List of Things” is a therapy song and love letter. More than anything, it is a beacon of hope. The song plays the role of a beautiful sunset in Courtney’s otherwise angst-ridden discography.

With its angry guitar solo, “Turning Green” is the track that feels like an older Barnett song, shouting out to her older works such as ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think….’.

In spite of its lengthy title (a characteristic trait of Barnett’s discography), ‘Things Take Time’ feels economically short and crisp with a runtime of under 35 minutes. It is fun to play while relaxing. We can tell Courtney wants us to have a good time, and a no stress-weekend, inviting us on this musical journey with her. And we will gladly take her up on the offer.

Stream ‘Things Take Time, Take Time’ on Spotify

Listen to the album on YouTube


Other records to check out:

1. ‘Bruised: Soundtrack From and Inspired by the Netflix Film’ by Various Artists

  • Genre: Hip Hop
  • Best Tracks: “Bet It” by Cardi B, “No Mercy (Intro)” by Young M.A., “Tha F***” by Latto, “Scared” by City Girls, “Dungarees” by Baby Tate
  • Release date: November 19, 2021 

The official soundtrack of the sports drama ‘Bruised’, which stars Halle Berry as a disgraced former MMA fighter reinventing herself to once again enter the ring, has stellar hip hop and rap tracks. The soundtrack is also notably intentional in including the music of Black female artists, from a range of well-known performers, such as Cardi B and Saweetie, to more upcoming artists, such as Flo Milli, Young MA, H.E.R and Akbar V. ALl the rap tracks are cinematic, empowering, brazen and have that sporty flavour that compliments the rugged movie, and lyrics which are tougher than leather. There is energy, rage, pent up anger and drama all mixed into this smashing album. The tracks even sound sweaty and muscular and that’s how you know that the soundtrack is a winner.

Stream ‘Bruised: Soundtrack From and Inspired by the Netflix Film’

Listen to the soundtrack on YouTube

2. ‘SNACKTIME’ by ATARASHII GAKKO!

  • Genre: Pop rock, pop
  • Best Tracks: “Pineapple Kryptonite”, “Free Your Mind”, “CANDY”
  • Release date: November 12, 2021 

Produced by Money Mark, this five-track EP is energetic, unhinged and bilingual with a mix of English and Japanese lyrics. It is not a surprising turn for the lovable Japanese girl group, nor is it surprising coming from Money Mark, who is a well-known collaborator of the loudly brash hip hop group, Beastie Boys. “Free Your Mind”, for example, has that zany Beastie Boys vibe since it matches ‘Check Your Head’ and ‘Ill Communication’. “Pineapple Kryptonite” is another strong track from the extended play.

There is almost a sweet candy-like quality to some of these pop songs, not least because one of the tracks is actually titled “Candy”, thanks to the eclectic, colourful and contrarian spirit of the songs. Fans of Alice Longyu Gao will enjoy this album and so will those who dig Yaeji and DiAN’s “Pac-tive”. The ‘Snacktime’ EP is commendable in that it breaks down the bubblegum pop genre with “Hormones” and “Candy”. Lead singer Suzuka is on her A-game, although we wish we could have heard more from the other three members of the group. We also kind of miss Atarashii Gakko’s more jazzy music which is missing here.

Stream ‘SNACKTIME EP’ on Spotify

Listen to the EP on YouTube

3. ‘SEEKING THRILLS AFTER HOURS’ by Georgia

  • Genre: Electro-dance, House
  • Best Tracks: “Feel It”, “24 Hours”
  • Release date: November 12, 2021

‘Seeking Thrills After Hours’ is a remix album of Georgia’s second studio album, ‘Seeking Thrills’. The electronic dance and house aspects of this remix record can feel like a niche genre, with certainly some niche sounds that only fans of deep house music can like. All the extended versions of the tracks feel like an acid trip with some hypnotising beats and repetitive rhythms and production which will send you in a trance for 44 minutes straight. The remix album is strictly for electro/house heads. For those who are fans of conventional dance music, check out Georgia’s original ‘Seeking Thrills’ album instead.

Stream ‘Seeking Thrills After Hours’’ on Spotify

Listen to the remix album on YouTube

Also read | New Songs Sunday: Chlöe, Camila Cabello & more



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