Pardon us… we spent the night in a glass case of emotion, so we’re feeling a little worse for wear.
But no less motivated to bask with you in the tragic glory of Adele‘s new album, 25, which dropped just hours ago and has been pounding from our speakers (and in our hearts) ever since.
When the first tear-jerker of a single, “Hello,” dropped a month ago, the British songbird—who by the sake of not being very available over the last few years made her new LP perhaps the most hotly anticipated album-not-by-Taylor Swift ever—assured that it wasn’t just a breakup tune.
And 25 is not a breakup album, which 21 admittedly was (although to call Adele’s music “just” anything is to be sorely mistaken). But oh, the feelings. In her latest collection, there’s a fair amount of regret, but also plenty of hope—for life, for love, for her future. But in the more explicitly rueful tunes, Adele certainly seems to be taking responsibility for her end of the heartache, and the sounds of seasoned, mournful accountability are making us hurt so good.
Here are the most devastating lyrics from what is going to be one of the biggest-selling albums of the year, ranked in descending order from twinge of longing to fetal position:
15. “Hello, can you hear me? I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be, when we were younger and free.”
Aaaaah. And this is our pick for least devastating. Not only is darling Adele getting her ex’s machine again, she’s lamenting the passing of those things you can never get back—time and carefree youth!
14. “You told me you were ready / for the big one, for the big jump / I’d be your last love everlasting you and me / that was what you told me”
Considering the song is called “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” it sounds as though this fellow reneged on his promises.
13. “I miss you, I miss you…”
“I Miss You” is actually about togetherness, and the longing that people can feel even when their significant other is right there. But the way Adele sings it, you’d think the person actually disappeared every time the lights went out.
12. “But I want to live and not just survive”
In “Love in the Dark,” Adele is finally the one leaving—but whoever once told you that it’s almost better to be the one being broken up with than the one doing the breaking apparently heard that from Adele! She’s so sorry to be the one doing this but she has to. She wants a shot at happiness. Someone’s gotta go, best it be her.
11. “Why do you love me”
Thinking about how you have to be feeling to ask someone that question makes us feel like making a batch of chocolate mousse and sticking our head in said mousse.
10. “When the world seems so cruel / and your heart makes you feel like a fool / I promise you will see / that I will be your remedy”
Whose heart hasn’t made them feel like a fool before? Show us that person!!
9. “It’s hard to win me back / everything just takes me back / to when you were there / and a part of me keeps holding on / just in case it hasn’t gone”
Yes! Sometimes the love dies for no apparent reason and, try as you might to recapture the feeling, it’s just never the same. Do you stay? Do you go? It sounds as though Adele went, dragging her feet, and she’s forever wondering if she made the right decision.
P.S. “When We Were Young” could be the name of a few songs on 25. The ravages of time (Adele is 27 BTW) are a recurring theme.
8. “If you’re gonna let me down, let me down gently / don’t pretend that you don’t want me”
Heart-sigh. She knows it’s not right, but she’s kinda hoping he doesn’t notice it’s not right, or doesn’t know that she knows it’s not right. Whatever the scenario, it’s utter sadness. We know that past feuds and misunderstandings can turn into so much “Water Under the Bridge” but… et tu, Love?
7. “I don’t need your honesty / it’s already in your eyes and I’m sure my eyes, they speak for me”
In “All I Ask,” again all Adele asks is that her soon-to-be ex doesn’t make a mockery of what they shared and reaffirm her belief that they mattered.
6. “I should probably tell you now before it’s way too late / That I never meant to hurt you or lie straight to your face”
Because Adele’s like a bird, she only flies away. All is fine right now, but she knows that the restless soul within is going to cause whomever she loves nothing but heartache.
5. “I’m trying to be brave / stop asking me to stay”
It does take guts to leave, especially knowing that you’re crushing the other person.
4. “All my life, you’re my darkness / You’re the right kind of madness”
Call this devastating exhilaration, all of the pain reaching peak painfulness and then dissipating, floating away like it never existed, when you meet the right person.
3. “They say that time’s supposed to heal ya / But I ain’t done much healing”
Back to “Hello” and the addressing of the hopeful myth that time heals all wounds. Nonsense.
2. “It’s so cold in your wilderness / I want you to be my keeper / but not if you are so reckless”
She really wants him to be the one. He’s just… not.
1. “It matters how this ends / cause what if I never love again?”
Only the universal question every single person ever asks after a relationship that they wanted to work so desperately, instead… ends.