EASY ON ME
There are events of global significance, and then there is a new single from Adele. Released at midnight, Easy on Me is the first salvo in the English singer’s new campaign to reinforce her status as the definitive pop star of the early 21st century. (An album, 30, follows on November 19th.)
And, with fans as far-flung as Alicia Silverstone and Lil Nas X taking to social media to articulate how deeply the track moved them, it is fair to say that, after a six-year recording hiatus, Adele is back in the business of being Adele.
One of the 33-year-old Londoner’s most impressive accomplishments has been her taking complete ownership of the Adele aesthetic. From the black-and-white video to the song’s register of grainy soulfulness, Easy on Me is utterly, emphatically and triumphantly “Adele”. Yet it somehow also represents a definitive artistic progression from 25, her 2015 album.
The song builds to one of those knockout Adele choruses that hit like a hurricane making landfall. And in which she so stretches out ‘easy’ that you could pop off to read all the Harry Potter novels and be back to hear her finish the note
That record was about growing up, loving and losing, and finally embracing a life of domestic bliss. On Easy on Me she has crawled back out of the looking glass and is gazing upon the sharp, glittering wreckage of her marriage.
Adele divorced her husband, the charity executive Simon Konecki, in 2019. Speaking to Vogue UK recently, she explained that she wrote the new LP with their eight-year-old son, Angelo, in mind. She wanted to create a body of work that would help him make sense, as an adult, of his mother’s decision to leave his father.
Yet in Easy on Me – produced by her regular collaborator Greg Kurstin – she seems to be addressing Konecki directly. “Go easy on me. I was still a child, didn’t get the chance to feel the world around me,” she sings. “Had no time to choose, what I chose to do, so go easy on me.”
These sentiments build to one of those knockout Adele choruses that hit like a hurricane making landfall. And in which she so stretches out the word “easy” that you could pop off to read all the Harry Potter novels and be back in time to hear her finish the note.
It’s not subtle, and, truthfully, it isn’t all that different from the forces with which she has been conjuring all the way back to Rolling in