Review of Easy On Me By Adele – Reliably, Relatably Adele-esque (VIDEO)
The first song from Adele’s new album 30, which is about her divorce, is classic Adele: piano, passionate recrimination, and soaring vocal work.
Touchaheart Nigeria reports that Adele sent a statement on social media earlier this week announcing the release of her fourth album. The singer doesn’t say much about music in it, instead focusing on her emotional state during the recording of the album, which was presumably triggered by the dissolution of her marriage: “absolute mess and inner turmoil … consumed by grief”. She compared the album she made amid it to friends coming over with “a bottle of wine and a takeaway” and offering earthy, if astrologically based, advice: “It’s your Saturn return, babes, fuck it.”
It all sounds bleak, but there’s a ray of hope for Adele’s fans, who flock to her in record-breaking numbers for relatable heartbreak – the musical equivalent of an old friend in the pub, tearfully recounting the latest chapter in their reliably disastrous love life while downing a third glass of pinot grigio.
For one thing, it emphasizes that she is dealing with new heartbreak, which was a problem with her last album, 25, on which she was obliged to revisit the same relationship that had inspired its predecessor for content.
For another, her fans might have cause to be alarmed by what the cover of Vogue refers to as “a new look, a new love, a new sound”.
How reliably relatable can Adele now be, with her home in LA, her squad of Hollywood A-list pals, her three-times-a-day exercise regime and, the Vogue profile suggests, an employee on hand with a different pair of shoes should the singer want to change out of her heels? It’s a statement that, consciously or otherwise, sends out a message: “Business as usual babes, fuck it.”
It’s the same message sent out by Easy on Me, a single so Adele-esque it’s quite hard to make a qualitative judgment about: you hear it and think “yes, that’s definitely Adele, doing the stuff that Adele does” and adjust your response according to whether or not The Stuff That Adele Does is your idea of musical nirvana.
It features mournful piano that gradually becomes more strident as the song progresses, implying a cathartic empowerment about sharing your misery, and is gently supported by subtle touches of bass: the figure it plays during the verses has a vague resemblance to the opening to the old Hill Street Blues theme.
Her voice, as strong as ever, sounds pained at first, then soars. You’d have a hard time disputing that Adele’s vocal at the last bridge is anything less than spectacular, even if you dislike The Stuff That Adele Does.
The lyrics – as on Someone Like You, or Hello, or Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – address the other party in a failing relationship, asking for forgiveness and understanding while underlining that it isn’t really her fault – “you can’t deny how hard I’ve tried, I changed who I was to put you both first – but now I give up” – which has a realistic tang: it’s very much an emotional note people strike when they’re tearfully offloading their woes three glasses of pinot grigio to the good.
Unlike Someone Like You, it’s not the kind of Adele song built to stop the listener in their tracks, but, unlike the lesser moments of 25, nor is it the kind of Adele song that just goes in one ear and out the other. It’s unmistakably relatable business as usual, which is probably exactly what the millions of people who buy Adele’s albums want, especially at this point in history.