It’s undeniable that there was quite a lot riding on massively successful singer Adele’s return to music. Following her groundbreaking 2015 record “25,” a divorce and a 6-year hiatus, fans were likely wondering what form Adele’s new music would take.
And with the recent release of “Easy On Me,” the lead single on Adele’s newly announced album “30,” it’s clear that she’s not pulling her emotional punches.
“Easy On Me” sticks to the classic Adele formula - simple instrumentals (this time, a lone piano) paired with the singer’s euphonious, soaring vocals. The sound of this new track is familiar, but its tender production seems to reflect Adele’s vulnerable frame of mind that accompanied her divorce.
Where “Easy On Me” truly shines is in its lyrical content, though. The track sees Adele ruminating on all aspects of her divorce - falling out of longtime love, taking responsibility of her own and learning to find herself in the process.
“There ain’t no gold in this river / That I’ve been washing my hands in forever” Adele sings dolefully on the opening verse, accepting that there’s nothing she can salvage from her marriage. She continues, holding out hope for the relationship but knowing that there is only so much she can do on her end (“I know there is hope in these waters / But I can’t bring myself to swim / When I am drowning in this silence”).
Despite the track’s pensiveness, it possesses an unexpected glimmer of hope—Adele, while broken, is embarking on a journey of self-acceptance. While she pleads with her ex-husband and her son in the chorus to “go easy on her” during their split, she goes on to ask for understanding as she enters this new stage of her life (“I was still a child / Didn’t get the chance / To feel the world around me / I had no time to choose what I chose to do”). In recent interviews, Adele appears more confident than ever, and it’s clear that since her divorce, the singer is now taking the time to feel the world around her with newfound freedom.
“Easy On Me” is unmistakably Adele: powerful, vulnerable, timeless and evocative. The track is a cathartic look at divorce and not only the immense pain that comes with it, but also the healing that can follow. It’s a triumphant, albeit bittersweet, return for Adele, but it’s a welcomed return nonetheless.
If “Easy On Me” is any indication of how “30” will present itself lyrically and sonically, listeners are in for a heart-wrenching body of work from Adele—one that shows sorrow and deep reflection but ultimately a light at the end of the tunnel. In an Instagram post announcing the album, Adele called “30” her “ride or die companion” throughout the most turbulent period of her life.
Adele’s fourth studio album, “30,” is out Nov. 19, 2021.