Adele doesn’t write break-up songs. She gives her audience anthems to proclaim.
The difference lies in her delivery. While most break up songs straddle between the blatant acceptance and unavoidable withdrawal of losing someone, Adele is firm in her confidence, acknowledging her sorrow but rising above and beyond it with her sound and lyrics.
On Oct. 15, Adele released “Easy On Me,” the single preceding her long-awaited album, “30.”
Long-awaited because this album was set to release three years ago when Adele turned 30, not 33.
“I was certainly nowhere near where I’d hoped to be when I first started it nearly 3 years ago,” Adele wrote in her Instagram post.
Even though “30” won’t release until Nov. 19, “Easy On Me” has already broken a record, becoming the most-streamed song in a single day on Spotify with 24 million global streams. Her record breaks the previous one held by BTS’ song “Butter” which had 21 million streams just five months ago.
Fans haven’t heard from Adele since her last album six years ago, but this response reveals an overwhelming admiration for the forceful singer. They’re not here for something new, necessarily. They’re here for Adele.
She’s stayed true to her sound — singing alongside her baby grand piano — and yet she sings with more power and more rawness than ever before. Her vibrato is forceful, her belting is unparalleled, and an authenticity underlies each lyric.
At first, Adele’s plea to go easy on her seems childish. The purpose and premise of this song is Adele’s divorce — in her six-year absence of producing music, Adele married, gave birth to a child, and divorced.
But her request is not just a proposed bargain for ease:
“Go easy on me, baby / I was still a child.”
In her 2015 hit “Send My Love,”Adele sang to an ex, “Send my love to your new lover / We both know we ain’t kids no more.” These lyrics sting with the pain of leaving everything behind. Adele is not a kid anymore, and has no time for this relationship.
But the tone of “Easy On Me” is far from stinging — it’s a sorrowful sinking of understanding that nobody is perfect. Adele admits that she was a child in her past relationship, and didn’t understand herself fully. But she doesn’t request to be excused of all fault. Instead, she begs that the weight of this past relationship lifts off her shoulders because she can’t bear it anymore. Afterall, she was only a child:
“I know there is hope in these waters / But I can’t bring myself to swim.”
Adele owns up to her actions and asks for forgiveness. She cries out with the same heartbreak, pain, and affection that you would expect to find in any song about an ex, but she delivers her message in a soulful ballad of raw hope.
Now, she’s in a season of recovery, processing her emotions in song, the only way she knows how.
“I’ve learned a lot of blistering home truths about myself along the way,” Adele continues in her Instagram post. “I’ve shed many layers but also wrapped myself in new ones. Discovered genuinely useful and wholesome mentalities to lead with, and I feel like I’ve finally found my feeling again. I’d go as far as to say that I’ve never felt more peaceful in my life.”
Though once stuck in the trenches of heartache and loss, Adele has emerged in honesty, not travesty. Some breakup songs jab at relationships, the lover, or the ex, but all Adele wants from both her ex-husband and her son is patience. She reminds her audience that giving up on a relationship is not always the easy way out, and not always a failure.
“I’ve painstakingly rebuilt my house and my heart since then and this album narrates it,” Adele writes. “Home is where the heart is.”
Adele’s heart is in this album, and she’s found her voice again.