The Meaning Behind Adele's New Single Easy On Me

It's been six long years since Adele last dropped an album, and she's finally back. The "Rumour Has It" legend unleashed her third project — "25" — way back in 2015. Its massive lead single "Hello" rocketed to the top of the charts. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there an impressive 10 weeks (via Billboard). That's not even considering the song's cultural impact: Its universal appeal was parodied on "Saturday Night Live" (via YouTube).

The album itself was a certified smash, too. "25" moved 3.38 million copies in its first week. The feat notched the album the best opening week on record. It went on to produce a second top 10 hit on the Hot 100 — "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" — and two more top 40 singles — "When We Were Young" and "Water Under The Bridge" (via Billboard). That's the definition of a mega-successful era by every metric.

A lot has happened in the world since Adele's last release. We've entered a pandemic, witnessed political and social unrest, and generally gone through it. Even more changed for the superstar. Notably, she split from her husband Simon Konecki in 2019; they finalized their divorce earlier this year (via US Weekly). 

Adele hopes to explain the breakup to the couple's shared son Angelo and the rest of the world on her upcoming album "30" (via British Vogue). Fans got a sense of the project's soulful songwriting with its evocative lead single "Easy On Me."

"Easy On Me" addresses Adele's recent divorce

Many of Adele's best songs are about heartbreak. "Easy On Me" is no exception. NBC noted the hitmaker is helping usher in "Sad Girl Autumn" with her upcoming album. The lead single is certainly a fitting introduction to the season of deep feelings and longing stares. Written by Adele and Greg Kurstin with production by Kurstin, according to Spotify, the song is a piano-led ballad that highlights her awe-inspiring vocals and confessional songwriting.

Thematically, "Easy On Me" tackles the divorce and her own childhood (via British Vogue). The chorus demands extra attention. "Go easy on me, baby," Adele pleads over mournful keys. "I was still a child / didn't get the chance to feel the world around me." The lyrics read as an explanation of sorts about her actions. However, the intended recipient is never explicitly stated. It could be a message to her son Angelo, her former husband, or perhaps her fans (via Genius).

One thing is clear listening to "Easy On Me." That is that Adele knew it was time to move on. "There ain't no room for things to change / when we are both so deeply stuck in our ways," she realizes. "You can't deny how hard I tried / I changed who I was to put you both first / but now I give up." This part in particular is seemingly addressed to both her son and former husband and the steps she took to find peace.

The "Easy On Me" music video pays tribute to "Rolling In The Deep" and "Hello"

Adele ripped our hearts out with the soul-crushing lyrics of "Easy On Me," but that wasn't all she had in store. She marked her long-awaited return with a music video (via YouTube). The Xavier Dolan-directed visual opens in black and white and finds the songstress leaving a home with a suitcase. She embarks on a car ride where she sees other couples happily in love. The visual turns to color while she performs in a windswept room.

Some of Adele's most clever fans realized the new video paid tribute to her videography. One user on Twitter noted that the singer performed inside a house as it was being built in the music video for 2010's "Rolling In The Deep" (via YouTube). She later moved into a house in the video for 2015's "Hello" (via YouTube). In fact, she references spotty cell service in both "Hello" and "Easy On Me." What a clever way to link the songs together.

According to Entertainment Tonight, more than 135,000 fans were waiting on YouTube for the world premiere of the "Easy On You" music video. There were 300,000 people watching by the end of the video. The publication noted that Dolan directed the videos for both "Hello" and "Easy On Me," and that they were set in the same home. That likely explains why they work so well together.

Adele didn't set out to create another "Hello" with "Easy On Me"

After a six-year gap between projects, the world was undeniably hungry to hear more music from Adele. The numbers alone prove that. The "Easy On Me" music video was viewed more than 31 million times in less than 24 hours (via YouTube). The song itself is also racking up serious streams on various platforms. That all but guarantees it will have a massive debut on the world charts next week.

While "Easy On Me" is pretty much guaranteed to be a chart-topper, Adele told Vogue that she didn't set out to recreate her last number-one single: "Hello." She explained that the song's overwhelming success took her fame to the next level. "I don't want that to happen again," she admitted. "I'm not saying I've got 'Hello's in my pocket. I was just conscious that I didn't want my story on this album to sound like that."

While her ability to effortlessly recreate the success of "Hello" isn't guaranteed, producer and writing partner Greg Kurstin gushed to Vogue about Adele's lyrical prowess. "She has this way of tackling very complex emotional subject matter that I've never seen," he said. "She pushes me to places that are very unexpected on the piano. Sometimes, I'll be looping a progression for hours while she's figuring out the lyrics. It's almost like a meditation."