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Adele is back. It’s been six long years since the opening chords of ‘Hello’ echoed through my student house, and I was obviously one of the 12 million people who streamed her latest single, Easy On Me, within 12 hours of its release last Friday.
Adele is known for her beautiful, soulful voice as well as her human, vulnerable lyrics. And 30 looks to be no different, due for release on 19 November and already dubbed her ‘divorce album’. In a recent interview with Vogue, she described it as a means to explain to her son about ‘who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness’.
Blimey. No small ask for just a handful of songs.
I’ll be honest, when I read Adele’s interview, I felt my judgmental side kicking in, and I fully expected to be disappointed with her musical self-justification. But the more I’ve pondered and the more I’ve listened to her latest single the more I’ve related. I may not be divorced but I, like so many others – like Adele – have found myself in situations I regret. I have found myself forced to let go of things I cannot fix: ‘there ain’t no room for things to change / when we are both so deeply stuck in our ways’.
Adele’s lyrics, as ever, convey powerful imagery in an emotionally honest way. They capture the paradox of human existence in the light of free will: ‘I had no time to choose what I chose to do’. Whatever your views on divorce and separation, these lyrics are deeply relatable for many of us, Christian and non-Christian alike.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is Adele’s other description of 30: ‘I feel like this album is self-destruction, then self-reflection, and then sort of self-redemption’. Easy On Me’s video, moving from black and white to full colour over the course of the song, seemingly conveys this journey as well.
Self-destruction and self-reflection are profoundly relatable themes – self-destruction is written into our very being, self-reflection helps us to find a way forward… but self-redemption? I fear it is here that Adele will stumble, as so many have before. The Bible – and our own experience, no doubt – tells us that when we acknowledge, through self-reflection, that our destruction is often entirely our own doing, we find that redemption is not something we can reach alone.
That is – and always has been – the job of a saviour.
Church Partnerships Manager at International Justice Mission UK. She tweets as @alianoree.
Watch the music video for Easy On Me:
Image: Columbia Records