Reviews by mars
Adele's "Easy On Me" review: the English superstar navigates the difficulties of divorce and motherhood on her stellar return to music (9/10)
Adele has always proved to be wise beyond her years. At just 19-years-old, she wrote her debut studio album, named after her age, and welcomed listeners into her heartbreak, nostalgia, and relationships as a young adult. These three themes are woven throughout her work on her monstrous sophomore release, 21, and the record-shattering 25.
Since the English singer-songwriter last blessed us with new music in 2015, much has changed. A global pandemic has upended daily life for billions filled with shutdowns and a shift towards the anti-social. Political turmoil has reached an all-time high not only in the United States but also across the Middle East. The music business has shifted away from CD and digital download sales and toward streaming (despite the recent revival of vinyl). Yet, despite all of that change, Adele’s magic continues to radiate just as it always has.
Since 25, Adele both married and filed for divorce from Simon Konecki, the father of her 9-year-old son, Angelo. On her first solo release in six years, Adele draws on her strengths - effortlessly conveying those feelings of heartbreak and nostalgia - and sings to her son for both forgiveness and understanding.
“Easy On Me” (released October 14, 2021) is the lead single from Adele’s upcoming fourth studio album, 30, out November 19. The single was co-written and produced with Greg Kurstin, who also co-wrote the gargantuan “Hello” with the pop superstar. “Easy On Me” is composed of classic Adeleisms that showcase the 15-time Grammy Award winner traversing themes from her past, but, this time, with a twist.
“Go easy on me, baby / I was still a child / Didn't get the chance to / Feel the world around me/ Had no time to choose what I chose to do,” she pleads to her son. “I changed who I was to put you both first / But now I give up.”
To many listeners, the introductory piano production may allude to just another power ballad to Adele’s name. But then, that immediately recognizable, smoky tone enters the room: earth-shatteringly, gorgeous as ever, and filled with endless emotion. “Easy On Me” begins with just the union of Adele’s wondrous vocals and a piano as slight bass muscles its way into the production throughout the song's second half, adding a smidge more energy to the stripped and heartfelt production. She is navigating newfound territory on our first taste of 30, and she delivers with both elegance and depth.
It’s Adele’s special ability to marry her unique tone with the complete exploration of emotion - the good, the bad, and the ugly - that makes her the artist she is. She doesn’t need to create a synth-pop smash à la The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” or tap into hip hop production trends to succeed at either Top 40 radio or streaming. Adele is flawlessly able to craft timeless music built on mundane life experiences, and that’s part of what makes “Easy On Me” such a bonafide hit. Is every listener able to relate to that devastation of explaining divorce to their child? No. Is the world collectively celebrating a star’s return while weeping in unison? Absolutely. Adele is ready to share with the world what it’s like for her to be 30 with poise and more wisdom than ever before.
Stream "Easy On Me" here:
NY-based, 26-year-old, music-obsessed and loves to write about it.