A young woman sits on a park bench or maybe a bus stop. She has blonde, no brown, no red hair. She’s in the throes of adolescence, college, adulthood. Her heart is broken. Her heart is strong.
She’s universal. She’s listening to a song on her iPod. It’s a song by Adele, but it might as well be her own thoughts streaming through her headphones.
Because that is what Adele does for listeners. She gives them a piece of her own soul, her heartstrings as guitar strings, her heartbeat as the background melody.
She sings for herself, and in doing so, she sings for us all.
Since debuting on American pop charts in 2008, Adele has become one the most popular and influential female artists of our generation.
I think she is more than that. I think she is the most important female artist to top charts in decades, if not ever.
When I was 16 and going through what I thought at the time was my first heartbreak, I turned to Adele’s song “Someone Like You.” There was something so vulnerable about her lyricism and tone, and she made me feel like what I was feeling was not childish or dramatic but was real.
And now her latest album “25” gives listeners that same exposure and access into her life. While Adele tends to stay out of tabloids and is now a mother with a relatively private personal life, I feel like I know her at her core.
Like all of us, she is susceptible to failure, to heartbreak, to loss. She never claims to be flawless or unbreakable. Contrarily, she lets listeners know she has made mistakes and has regrets and is human.
But the best thing about Adele is not who she is — it’s who she isn’t.
She isn’t the blue-eyed, Tinkerbell-esque girl Taylor Swift is. She isn’t the overtly sexual diva Beyoncé is.
She doesn’t give into the trends of the day, like sites that stream music for free or companies that advertise size two body types.
She isn’t worried about being censored or proper, and she drops the f-bomb frequently in interviews.
She doesn’t have a dance move attached to her name or a celebrity beau.
She’s just Adele, raw and reeling and never giving less than her version of the truth to listeners.
And I admire her so much for that. We all should.
Next time you are looking for something to listen to, I suggest you turn on Adele.
Listen for what you need. I bet she gives it to you.
You’ll find strength in a song like “Turning Tables,” devotion in “Make You Feel My Town,” and nostalgia in “When We Were Young.”
You might be tempted to call up an old lover and make amends. You might want to contact a childhood friend and reminisce. Maybe you’ll just want to reach out to your mother and let her know how much you love her.
Because when you listen to Adele, you feel, which is what makes her so precious and groundbreaking to music and society in general. Here is a woman who does not rely on her looks or her public breakups to fuel her career. Here is a woman who relies only on her believably as a person and her ability to connect on an emotional level with listeners.
She is someone to be respected and commended. She is a symbol of self-confidence and inner strength and has transcended many female stereotypes in the music industry.
Hello, Adele. It’s good to have you back.