Due on 15 October, the star’s first new music in six years comes ahead of her fourth album, assumed to be titled 30
Adele hosting Saturday Night Live, October 2020. Photograph: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images
The Guardian-Laura Snapes
After weeks of feverish speculation, Adele has announced her return. A new single, Easy on Me, is set for release on 15 October, ahead of her fourth album.
The musician, 33, teased her first new music in six years with a clip that shows her loading a cassette into a car tape deck and driving along as sheet music blows out of the window.
Some stately piano chords, presumably the song’s introduction, play over the clip. The sound is in keeping with the balladry that has made Adele the best-selling female album artist of the century in the UK, according to figures published by the British Phonographic Industry this March.
That is, unless the introduction turns out to be a feint. While Adele’s fourth album is unlikely to be the “drum and bass record to spite you all” that she teased impatient fans with in 2019, critics have been guessing whether transformations in the singer’s personal life might prompt a move away from her trademark sound.
Adele and her ex-husband, charity CEO Simon Konecki, divorced in 2019. They have an eight-year-old son. She has since been linked to the UK rapper Skepta and recently confirmed her relationship with US sports agent Rich Paul.
She has also undergone a pronounced physical transformation, as she acknowledged when she guest-hosted Saturday Night Live in October 2020: “I know I look really, really different since you last saw me,” she said in her opening monologue. “But actually, because of all the Covid restrictions, I had to travel light and I could only bring half of me. And this is the half I chose.”
Adele recently updated her social media profiles to match a mysterious global advertising campaign that saw the number “30” projected on to landmarks including the Tate Modern and the Brooklyn Bridge, appearing to confirm the title of her fourth album.
Despite her once saying she intended to move away from the number-based naming convention of her albums, 30 follows 19 (2008), 21 (2011) and 25 (2015).
While no release date has been announced, fans have guessed it may arrive on 19 November, after Taylor Swift pulled forward the release of her latest album re-recording, Red (Taylor’s Version), to 12 November, presumably to avoid going head to head with another pop behemoth.
It all makes for a very busy fourth quarter in pop – and good news for retailers – with Adele and Swift joining major releases from Ed Sheeran, whose fourth album, =, is released on 29 October, and Abba, whose ninth album, Voyage – their first in 40 years – lands on 5 November.