Adele I of England
15 October 2021-
Today, or rather last night at midnight, the great Adele (semi-)surprise-released new single "Easy On Me". The sheer scope of this event can only be understood if one takes into account the decade+ that the lady has been singing — and changing popular music in the process...
At the time of writing, Adele‘s new music video for “Easy On Me” is reaching 38 million views on Youtube. In under 24 hours. While that is not a record-breaker per se — that record belongs to Koreas’ BTS with “Butter”, to no one’s surprise — it is still a mighty big number. Also, everyone is talking about it: even Kanye and all his hype couldn’t do that. Only Drake could. Maybe.
The point is, Adele is back. She’d sort of prepared us for the grand return, hinting at things online in the past few days. And the reasons this is such a big deal are:
- It’s been 6 years since her previous album, 25, hit the shelves. Nothing since: not a single bonus track, remix album or featuring of any kind. And 6 years is a lot, no matter how you put it. The only other world class artist who would dare going on such a hiatus is Rihanna — if that.
- We’ve heard a lot of things regarding Adele in those 6 years. In no particular order, that she got divorced: that one is pretty unavoidable, even if you don’t read the tabloids, event at the dentist (how else are you gonna get your mind off of what’s about to happen?). Also, that she lost her voice, or rather that damage done to it may prevent her from touring ever again; guess we’ll see about that, but she sounded pretty definitive, which is a gigantic bummer. Or else that she sort of changed her looks, shedding quite a big of weight, not that we minded… all the while raising a now 9-year old son and facing the world’s scrutiny.
- The source of said scrutiny is the record-breaking success of said previous record. And the one before that, 21. And the one before that one, her debut LP 19 (see a thread there?). While 19 (featuring the wonderfully fresh “Chasing Pavements”) did not make it to #1 in the US — her only record not to, mind you — it did in her native England. And everything else after that topped every chart. 25 sold upwards of 22 million copies back in 2015. 21 sold upwards of 31 million copies in 2011. Skyfall, the James Bond movie she wrote the soundtrack for, became the highest grossing Bond movie ever. You get the gist: Adele has a knack for making her work noticeable — and noticed.
Not that she tries, really: even with her increasingly Californian looks, the lady is quite well known for her straight personality, an absolute rarity for a celebrity of such magnitude. Also, and perhaps more importantly, what she sings about tends to be so profoundly personal that you have no choice but empathize with her in a way very few singers ever managed. Perhaps the most seminal single she produced (so far), “Someone Like You“, is such a uniquely truthful piece of songwriting, telling the story of the pain that comes from a breakup, that it has become a bone fide anthem the world around. Her performing it at the 2011 Brit Awards sealed the deal: incredibly, it was even more touching then…
So you best believe everyone was eager to find out how the artist would approach all these new events that took place in her life since we last heard her. And people were not disappointed: she tackled divorce head on with this beautiful new ballad that comes with a simple yet impactful music video. Which switches from black and white to color right when it’s time for us to realize that, once and for all, Adele has changed the face of popular music…