Monday, December 4, 2023

Misery Loves Company: Why I’m Excited To Have Adele Serenade Our Sad Summer

We’re heading into what looks like a pretty gloomy summer: perfect time for a new Adele release.

I’ve just reached the ‘cutting own hair with the kitchen scissors’ stage of this particular lockdown, so when the news came out this morning that Adele is back with a new album, I looked at my mismatched locks in the mirror and thought: Yes. This is right.

It’s raining out the window as I write this, in the way that it has rained most every morning of this lockdown, so again, spiritually, I feel like the time is nigh for some misery music. There are two releases coming up that fit that bill entirely: the re-release of Taylor Swift’s Red album (her best album bar Folklore, I would argue, as it’s mostly sad songs) and now, of course, Adele’s 30 (release date still to come). Maybe there is just so much sadness in the world right now that we have all collectively summoned Adele. If the 20-second teaser of her new song Easy On Me is anything to go by, she is matching our mood and then some.

As someone who is always very impressed when female singers lean into their ego, it was a real joy to see the deranged and beautiful roll-out of this album announcement, with the number 30 being illuminated across famous landmarks like the Louvre in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and the Empire State Building in New York.

Imagine being so confident in your new project that you see the Colosseum as a fitting backdrop to announce it.

Imagine being so confident in your new project that you see the Colosseum as a fitting backdrop to announce it. If it was a male artist… forget about it. (Imagine Ed Sheeran advertising a new album across the Louvre. Absolutely not.) Even for Adele it feels… bold. But honestly, why not.

Ed Sheeran could never.

With the announcement of picnic level version of Level Three, there’s a strange feeling across Tāmaki Makaurau at the moment as we all kind of sink into the world of: what does this mean? What does this summer hold for us? It feels like we are heading into some sort of in-between; a sad merge of normal summer days and unescapable lockdown. The beach is back on the radar, great, but with limited people, okay, and always wearing masks… the only thing I can think of is ‘sweaty’ but these are the small adjustments the rest of the world has been making for a while, so here we are. Arriving at the same place as everyone else, Aotearoa just late to the party as usual.

It feels fitting that our new sadness soundtrack is called 30, because turning 30 is a very odd time. You are two-feet firmly planted into adulthood and that can be quite a scary thing, because I’ve never known a 30-year-old who feels like an adult. I’ve never really known any adult that feels like an adult, to be honest. I remember asking my grandfather, aged 85 at the time, how old he felt. He thought about it for a moment and then said, “Around 12.” Life is a lot easier when you know most people are pretending to be adults too. But it’s undeniable that a lot of ‘adulting’ has grown harder in the past 18 months.

In the six years since Adele released 25, she’s gone through a divorce, become a solo parent, changed her body shape, discovered Glennon Doyle and realised the power of Instagram thirst traps. Sure, she’s done all of this while being one of the most famous people on the planet, but there’s a lot about this *growth* that’s pretty relatable. However, it’s Adele’s innate ability to tap into our sadness that makes her such a beloved character, and I for one am very interested to get to know Post Divorce, Post Lockdown Adele and have her dominate yet another slightly depressing period of our lives.

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