Pop audiences’ feverish anticipation has come to a frothing point: Adele has not only released perhaps the most covered and remixed single of the year, but 25 has now leaked. It’s, exactly, what you’d expect, really — incredibly overwrought breakup songs for those who want a nice wallow, superficial but oh-so-deep.
She sticks mostly to four-chord tracks driven by melodramatic piano, but occasionally breaks from this sonic formula which is a welcome change. However, the lyrical tactic continually remains the same: breakups, nostalgia for days of wine and roses, and Adele either pining for her ex or stating, triumphantly, just how over it she is.
Wow, this is almost exactly the same song as “Someone Like You.” Instead of the Journey chords of its predecessor, she shuffled them ever-so-slightly into the (unfortunately-labeled) “sensitive female singer” set, an equally beaten-up cliché (if not more so). Lo and behold, there’s a breakup, too. Whoever could have predicted that:
The peppy, upbeat acoustic guitar tells lets you know ahead of time that Adele’s over her ex here. Instead of morosely resigning herself to finding “someone like” him, she instead throws some snark his (and his new lover’s) way. The tone may be different, but the message ultimately is the same:
The old colloquialism is used here for ironic effect with sarcastic bite. However, the track seems to alternate between two different reasons for Adele’s rejection of a “water under the bridge” sentiment: firstly, that the couple should continue hooking up, and secondly, that, should there be a breakup, she won’t let bygones be bygones. Overall, it’s mostly the former:
There’s ‘millions of miles,’ “oceans,” and plenty of other clichés between Adele and her man. Call it an age thing, but Death Cab for Cutie’s “Transatlanticism” forever solidified the best utilization these lyrical tricks. Now they mostly seem bland. Or, maybe you need a long distance lover for it to work:
As a nice change of pace, Adele borrows the “Autumn Leaves” chord progression, giving this track’s ‘old-timey’ feel a more classic authenticity. Even better, it’s actually not about a breakup. Sure, it’s still all about nostalgia for the good times of “a million years ago,” homesickness, and “regrets” — all great fodder for moping, which can be more relatable here in terms of opportunities missed: