Released Oct. 15, 2021, “Easy on Me” was Adele’s first release in seven years since her third album 25, and was written during a very turbulent period in her life, as the British singer was navigating a divorce from her husband Simon Konecki and reflections of her childhood.
Adele’s discography is her musical timeline of major milestones and life changes, representing the ages she began working on each, from 19 in 2008, 21 in 2011, and 25 in 2015. Unlike her previous releases, there was some insight into Adele’s personal life before the release of 30, when news broke that she was separating from her husband and later divorced in 2021.
Produced by Greg Kurstin, who also co-wrote the song with Adele, the lyrics around “Easy On Me” are a mix of the despair, loss, and hopefulness Adele experienced during the time. The sweeping piano-led ballad became part of a greater narrative of this time in Adele’s life and was released on her fourth album 30.
“I learned a lot of blistering home truths about myself along the way,” said Adele describing the meaning of the song lyrics on Instagram around the release of the single. “I’ve shed many layers but also wrapped myself in new ones. Discovered genuinely useful and wholesome mentalities to lead with, and I feel like I’ve finally found my feeling again. I’d go as far as to say that I’ve never felt more peaceful in my life. And so, I’m ready to release this album.”
The meaning of the opening lines for “Easy On Me” suggest divorce was the only option left:
There ain’t no gold in this river
That I’ve been washin’ my hands in forever
I know there is hope in these waters
But I can’t bring myself to swim
The remainder of the song is a message to their song Angelo to understand and to “go easy” on her:
Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
Didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
I had no time to choose what I chose to do
So go easy on me
Bad Cell Phone Receptions
The black and white video for the song, directed by Xavier Dolan, reached nearly one million views in an hour and subtly mirrored Adele’s 2015 video for her hit “Hello,” which also featured a bad cell phone reception scene.
Upon its release, Adele said that she hopes 30 will someday help her son Angelo understand the divorce, which he experienced along with her. “My son has had a lot of questions—really good questions, really innocent questions, that I just don’t have an answer for like ‘Why can’t you still live together?’” said Adele in a 2021 interview.
She added, “I just felt like I wanted to explain to him, through this record, when he’s in his 20s or 30s, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness. It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that’s a real wound for me that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to heal.”
Photo: Courtesy of Apple Music