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Piano keys and a voice. That’s all Adele ever really needs to get to work. And who can blame her? With vocals as powerful but smooth as hers, it doesn’t take much more to excite a lot. Of course, some of their songs deviate from this template, with many of their tracks containing tough percussion (see “Rumor Has It”) and some others with orchestral strings having a more elegant feel (see “Skyfall”). But to celebrate her big comeback after six years, Adele does not pull out all the stops. Instead, she chooses a minimalist, soulful ballad that is not unlike her most famous hit that made her a star, “Someone Like You”. Yes, she is here to remind us who she is and how quickly she can do anything, we cry at the sound of a note.

It’s not hard to know what to expect from Adele. Though the British blonde only shows up every couple of years to drop a project, she has been one of the main names in music conversations for the past decade. Since each of her award-winning albums was named after their age at the beginning of their creation, the songwriter’s discography always had its own pattern. Her projects act as columns of works that she drops for us to give us a glimpse into her fairly closed life, an insight that she only gives us the privilege of seeing each other now and then. And that look often ends up being one of the most intimate, soul-baring music anyone can ever hear. When Adele tweeted a teaser of about 13 seconds of piano on October 5th, the world was ready to pay attention.

For a song about innocence, “Easy on Me” is very wise. On this nearly four-minute track, Adele sings about breaking up a relationship, but not in a way that blames the other person entirely. Instead, she drops her walls and asks for a little understanding as she acknowledges a common mistake in turning things for the worse. “You go to me, baby. I was just a kid, ”she begs, a line that carries even more weight when you know that this next album is dedicated to her son to explain his parents’ separation. Despite its unmistakable Adele feel, it marks some changes for the artist. With the difficult theme of the album (“Divorce, Baby, Divorce!”) Adele offers the listeners an insight into a new chapter in their lives. In this new saga, she begins to think about the role she played in her own inadequacies as opposed to her previous projects where she mostly sings about the other person. As a single, the track is a solid choice to show this – an admission of self-esteem regarding her naivety.

Adele’s voice acts as a separate instrument along with the piano keys. At times, the vocal melodies match those of the piano exactly, which increases the contagiousness of the song and ensures that it won’t leave your head for the next week. Almost anyone can admit how fun it is to cosplay as a talented singer and see what your voice can do. So, that moment when Adele used impressive breath control to constantly switch between the same two notes as we feel the pulse of the song’s rhythm? It is essentially a challenge for any listener to copy (which they are likely to fail at)! It also serves as a build-up for the song’s heart-rending emotional core: the bridge. “I had good intentions,” she belts out in high notes to meet the “highest hopes” she once had. One thing about Adele is that she knows as much about how to make you feel the pain, just as she does.

While the song received positive feedback, some on Twitter were wishing for one for such a big comeback even stronger sound that was a little less known. Though I thought so when I first heard it, I later found that simplicity brings me a nostalgic consolation, taking me back to 2015 when Adele released the hit single “Hello” to promote 25 for her previous album cycle. But while I longed for the familiarity of Adele’s voice, I hope this album will take a different path and unleash a whole new side of Adele. I suppose it all depends on the next single – will she play it safe with piano keys and a voice? Or will it lead us to the less traveled road?

Adora Adeyemi

Major English in Class 2024 at Georgetown University

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