University of Minnesota Student News

Adele’s “30” Beats Out Elite Competition to be Biggest Release of the Year

December 1, 2021

November 19 ended the high-profile rollout of Adele’s latest album. Before the name of the album was released, mysterious billboards that teased the number 30 appeared in cities like London, Dubai, Los Angeles, Paris, and Sydney. With her first three studio albums being titled based on her age when creating them, “30” makes perfect sense. Not to mention the lead single for the album, “Easy on Me”, which has been number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the past four weeks. 

“30” is Adele’s first album in almost exactly six years, since she released “25” on Nov. 20, 2015. It debuted with easily the largest week of 2021 for any album. It had the equivalent of 839,00 sales in the United States. This beat out both Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” and Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)” by more than 200,000. It is also already the top-selling album in the United States in all of 2021. Compared to “25”, however, this number is rather mundane. “25” sold 3.4 million copies in just its first week. This is, of course, a nearly impossible standard for Adele to reach given her last album’s record of the most first-week sales of any album since these statistics were first recorded in 1991. The benchmark of a million in first-week sales is something that only a few can achieve. With “30” falling short, Taylor Swift’s 2017 album “Reputation” is still the last to cross the million mark. 

Adele is no stranger to melancholy music. Her biggest hits are all heartbreakers that hit too close to home for most listeners. This did not change. Adele left very little up to interpretation in regard to who or what this album is about. In a viral clip from an Instagram live, Adele kept it very simple when asked about the album’s contents. “Divorce, babe. Divorce” she said.

She shed even more light on the situation in a November interview with Vogue. She said,  “I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy. Neither of us did anything wrong. Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved. It’s really important to me.” Without being disrespectful to her ravenous and widespread supporters, she made sure to emphasize the personal importance of her fourth album. “It’s sensitive for me, this record, just in how much I love it,” she explained. “I always say that 21 doesn’t belong to me anymore. Everyone else took it into their hearts so much. I’m not letting go of this one. This is my album.”

Even with Adele’s focus on making “30” her most personal album, it is still painfully relatable. Instead of heartbreak, this album reflects on the pain of putting her loved ones in a bad spot and the process of building herself up in order to love again. Although “30” has a different inspiration and focus than her past projects, it does not fail to check all the boxes that have always defined who Adele is as an artist. Her unworldly vocal range continues to be both shocking and graceful. 

Adele popped back into the news after the release to announce a weekend residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This will run from January 21 to April 16 and include two shows per weekend. Fans who are lucky enough to attend will get to spend a whole weekend with Adele in an intimate crowd of only 4,100 people. 

Adele’s album is undoubtedly a spectacular addition to an unbelievable year of music. With albums from Drake, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, J Cole, Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, and many more, it is no small feat to drop the biggest album of the year and further cement her legacy.

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