Adele’s just-released 30, a harrowing divorce album inspired by what the Grammy-sweeping singer recently described to Vogue as her “Year of Anxiety,” is being heralded as her most rawest and most confessional effort yet — which is truly saying something, considering that her stock in trade has always been breakup ballads like “Someone Like You” and “Hello.” But it’s the LP’s third track, “My Little Love,” that is undoubtedly the record’s hardest gut-punch. The epic, haunting jazz/R&B song features real-life recordings of heartbreaking conversations Adele had with her 9-year-old son, Angelo, about her 2019 split from Angelo’s father, Simon Konecki.
“Tell me you love me,” Adele murmurs during “My Little Love’s” first bridge, to which her son reassures her, “I love you a million percent.” But in the second bridge, Angelo surprisingly tells Adele, “I feel like you don’t love me. … Do you like me?” A stunned Adele replies, “Why do you feel likе that? … You know Mummy doesn’t like anyone else like I like you, right?”
Adele goes on to explain that “Mummy’s been having a lot of big feelings recently” and feels “a bit confused,” but she stresses to Angelo, “I love your dad because he gave you to me. You’re half-me and you’re half-Daddy.”
Adele explained in her no-holds-barred Vogue interview that the voice notes were recorded at the suggestion of her therapist, and that the inspiration to feature them in “My Little Love” came from Tyler, The Creator and British grime artist Skepta. “I thought it might be a nice touch, seeing as everyone’s been at my door for the last 10 years, as a fan, to be like, ‘Would you like to come in?’” she quipped.
Adele announced her separation from Konecki in April of 2019 (a.k.a. the “Year of Anxiety”); their divorce was finalized in March 2021. Adele told Vogue she began writing material for 30 right around the time that her marriage was unraveling, as an attempt to address Angelo’s “many simple questions for me that I can’t answer, because I don’t know the answer. Like, Why can’t we still live together? That’s just not what people do when they get divorced. But why not? I’m like, I don’t f***ing know. That’s not what society does. And: Why don’t you love my dad anymore? And I’d be like, I do love your dad. I’m just not in love. I can’t make that make sense to a 9-year-old.”
The now 33-year-old singer specifically penned “My Little Love” the day after a particularly painful exchange with Angelo, who was 6 and a half at the time: “He said to my face, ‘Can you see me?’ And I was like, ‘Uh, yeah.’ And he was like, ‘‘Cause I can’t see you.’ Well, my whole life fell apart in that moment. He knew I wasn’t there. … That’s when I started sharing with him.”
Along with the recorded heart-to-heart chats with her son, “My Little Love” incorporates an emotional voicemail recording Adele left for a friend, in which she says through tears, “I’m having a bad day. I’m having a very anxious day. I feel very paranoid. I feel very stressed. I have a hangover, which never helps. But I feel like today is the first day since I left [Konecki] that I feel lonely. And I never feel lonely. I love being on my own. I always preferred being on my own than being with people. And I feel like maybe I’ve been, like, overcompensating and being out and stuff like that to keep my mind off of him. And I feel like today, I’m home and I wanna be at home. I just wanna watch TV and curl up in a ball and be in my sweats and stuff like that. But I just feel really lonely. I feel a bit frightened that I might feel like this a lot.”
30 is earning the best press response of Adele’s career for its candor. Rolling Stone raved in a five-star review that she “has never sounded more ferocious. … It’s her toughest, most powerful album yet,” while Variety called the album her “rawest, riskiest, and best” and the BBC said Adele is at “the top of her game.” The Telegraph even declared, “Adele Adkins has made what might just be the most potent everywoman album since Carole King’s 1971 classic Tapestry. Or at least since Adele’s own 2011 world-beating classic, 21.”
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