British pop chanteuse Adele has released the first single from her upcoming fourth album, 30. The song “Easy On Me” is a plaintive ballad featuring Adele’s soulful, wistful voice with unadorned piano backing. Lyrically the song is familiar territory, a quiet rumination on love lost, neither pleading for a reunion nor assigning blame. Musically, “Easy On Me” is Adele in complete control of her powers, her fantastic voice melding into songs expressing heartache without artificial pathos.
The full production video for the song is decidedly lower quality than the song itself, relying on hackneyed imagery that adds nothing to the song’s emotional impact.
So what has Adele been up to in the six years following her 25 album in 2015? She married and divorced the father of her son, lost a lot of weight, and while not wholly hiding from the world, was anything but pandering to the pop culture scene seeking its attention. When you’ve sold over 58 million albums, you don’t need a significant TikTok presence to garner attention.
Adele has managed the extremely rare feat of tapping into a broad cross-section of the public psyche when voicing the aftermath of love lost. Even a curmudgeonly blues and rock’n’roll aficionado such as myself has found few songs about the aftermath of a failed relationship more poignant than “Someone Like You.”
Regardless of musical preference, it demands an acknowledgment that Adele is a force in popular music like no other. In an era when physical product sales are steadily decreasing, Target and Walmart are rubbing their hands with glee over snagging exclusive versions of the new album, be it on vinyl or CD. As part of maintaining fluency in pop culture vernacular to better present conservative thoughts and truths, knowing Adele’s new album will be hitting the shelves and streaming sites on November 19th isn’t a bad thing to know.