Emerging Anew: “Easy On Me” by Adele Review

Lucas Cohen-d'Arbeloff

Adele has returned, dazzling us all once again.

After a six-year hiatus that left fans craving her emotional yet soothing refrains, the English singer premiered her music video for “Easy On Me” live via YouTube on Oct. 14. When the video begins, it communicates all of the indicators of Adele’s signature style: The minutes-long opening sequence without music (à la her single “Hello” from the album “25”) and the black-and-white filter remind us of her earlier era. But as the music video progresses and the lyrics bless listeners’ ears, a new Adele takes form. In her upcoming album “30,” we can expect a grounded artist slowly moving past heartbreak.

The song, which focuses on her short-lived marriage with Simon Konecki, is a powerful appeal for compassion and understanding. It is also a profound account of her struggle within their relationship. Adele is resolute in her tone as she explains why the relationship could not work: “There ain’t no gold in this river / That I’ve been washin’ my hands in forever,” she proclaims. Expressing her feelings simply, Adele diverges from the spirit of her previous music. Unlike her music from the album “21,” Adele does not desperately implore her former lover to embrace her, as she does in “All I Ask,” nor does she follow the structure of “Chasing Pavements,” where she asked the listener for advice on what steps to take next.

The subtle details of the video also indicate a break from her earlier self. Rather than wander aimlessly through streets or glare longingly at the camera, she takes action, selling her house and driving off in a whirlwind. As her bag-stuffed truck glides along the road, stacks of sheet music also fly out into the wind. In a sense, this image solidifies her transition as an artist because she is letting go of her previous music and identity.

Along with unveiling Adele’s evolving artistry, “Easy On Me” ranks as one of her strongest songs melodically and rhythmically. The softer and more intimate moments of the song, like her allusion to an inability to “feel” the world around her when she was younger, blend well with her harsher, more powerful vocal choices. The chorus also features an intricate descending melody, adding a layer of complexity to balance the more simple lyrics in this section.

The song has also proved some “haters” wrong: Despite some claims that Adele had lost her vocal power, because of her “bad technique,” vocal surgery or weight loss, she is clearly back and stronger than ever. “Easy On Me” affirms Adele’s status as one of the greatest vocalists of our time, and it serves as a fascinating preview for her future as an artist. There is no doubt her new sound will continue to turn heads when “30” premieres Nov. 19.