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How to Properly Listen to Adele’s New Album

A few short weeks ago, Adele graced us with a new album classically entitled 25.

Unless you have absolutely no contact with the outside world, you’ve likely heard about this by now. Adele has long been known for her impressive vocal ability and soulful lyrics, and this album certainly did not disappoint in either of those categories.

In a letter that she recently shared on Facebook, Adele writes that this album “is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising.” She describes what it’s like to suddenly reach the middle of your twenties and look back on what you’ve undergone, finally coming to understand how much it’s shaped you. She expresses the necessity of letting go and of not wasting time dwelling on the past, which only causes you to miss out on the greatness of the present.

Since the release of Adele’s last album, you’ve likely experienced break-ups and second chances, summer flings and long-term commitments. You’ve lost touch with some of those people and maintained friendships with others. You’ve loved and you’ve lost and then you’ve loved again.

In regards to the wonderful mess that is your college love life, one thing’s for sure: it’s changed you in more ways than one. And, you’ve most likely locked up those painful memories in a place deep inside your mind, slammed the door shut and thrown away the key.

Or so you thought. Through the spectacular compilation that is 25, Adele is about to make you relive all of that all over again.

I know what you’re thinking – you’ve been an Adele fan since the days of “Chasing Pavements”, and you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of this album. You’re not really an emotional person, and you can listen to her songs without letting them hit you too close to home. But if you’re going to dive into the emotional rollercoaster that is 25, you’ve got to do it the right way.

What You’ll Need

– A bottle of wine. In fact, make that two bottles of wine – just in case. You can’t have too much of a good thing.

– Your best friend’s phone number. On speed dial. Okay, so speed dial isn’t really a thing anymore. Take this as you’ll need the ability to call her very speedily when things go south.

– An extraordinarily comfortable couch. Because Adele is about to knock you right off your feet.

– Chocolate/ice cream/your snack food of choice. Because late-night snacking is always a good idea, and you’ll need something to go with the wine.

– A copy of the album. Obvious, right? WRONG. Adele made the bold move of not putting her album on Spotify. This is only mildly acceptable because she’s Adele. As a result, you’ll have to put in a little more effort than usual to get it, but it’s definitely worth the $11.

Song #1: “Hello”

You start in on the first song, glass of wine in hand. You have some classwork to catch up on, and you try to get started on it. But from the very first “Hello…it’s me”, something changes. All of a sudden, you feel sad. And strangely nostalgic.

By the time the chorus hits, you have no idea what you were working on. Where even is your backpack?

Suddenly, your mind is on that guy you tried to call a thousand times but who never answered. Adele is right – you do wish you could tell him that you’re sorry. Why did you never hear back from him? (Possibly due to the thousand calling attempts.) Did he change his phone number? Why did he never call you back?? You’re definitely on the outside in this situation, and you’re not sure how you feel about that.

And just like that, the Pandora’s Box containing your love life’s memories has been opened.

Song #2: “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”

You’re thinking oh good, something jazzy and upbeat to take your mind off that last song. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case.

All of a sudden you’re looking at that guy’s Facebook, only to discover that he has a new girlfriend. Before you even realize what’s happening, you’re 128 weeks into her Instagram photos and you know exactly how long they’ve been dating, where she went to high school, and the name of her dog. You’ve officially entered dangerous territory.

Song #3: “I Miss You”

Song #3 rolls around just as you’re pouring your second glass of wine. You have your friends change all of the passwords to your social media accounts so that an incident like that can never happen again.

You attempt to focus back in on your work, but your mind is still on that guy. You thought you didn’t miss him, but apparently you do. In fact, you miss everything about him with every fiber of your being. What is this album doing to you??

Song #4: “When We Were Young”

“When We Were Young” comes on just in time for your complete emotional collapse. You thought you were completely over that guy you dated your freshman year, but you suddenly realize that you have so many great memories from that relationship.

Yes, things ended very badly, and yes, you were miserable for most of the 8 months that you were together. But it’s possible that these past few years have given you a new sense of clarity. It’s also possible that Adele’s incredible album combined with those glasses of wine is making everything seem more appealing. But you want to call him. Maybe you’ll see if he wants to give things another try.

Song #5: “Remedy”

The piano music in this song is enough to singlehandedly reduce you to tears. You’re more confused than ever and you’re on the verge of drunkenly texting your ex to see if he wants to come over.

Thankfully, you have a moment of rationality as your thumb is hovering over “Send”. Is this really what you want? Is any of this what you want??

In a sudden burst of reason, you delete the message and speedily dial your best friend, who thankfully talks you out of the massive mistake you were about to make. Talk about a close call.

Song #6: “Water Under the Bridge”

After that minor lapse of judgment, you suddenly feel on top of the world. You don’t need him. You’re young and free and fabulous, and this song has given you the sense of power and certainty that you so desperately needed.

Songs #7-10: “River Lea”, “Love in the Dark”, “Million Years Ago”, and “All I Ask”

The next four songs are a complete blur because your hour of soul-searching combined with that bottle of wine you just finished have changed the way you look at everything. Your ex was always holding you back, and last weekend’s one-night-stand was definitely not your soulmate. The inconsiderate guy who broke up with you over a text message means nothing to you anymore, and even your most devastating heartbreak is now nothing more than a distant memory.

Song #11: “Sweetest Devotion”

You’ve reached the final song of the album. Out of nowhere, you’re standing on your kitchen table and opening that second bottle of wine as you belt out every word of Adele’s ingenious lyrics, because of course you can perfectly hit every note on her vocal range. In fact, you sound so great right now. Who knew you were a singer?

The album ends and you pass out on your couch, because this emotional experience has drained you of the strength you would need to make it all the way back to your bed.

Adele – 1. You – 0.

The Day After

After waking up the next day and realizing that you’ve consumed an entire carton of ice cream, one bottle of wine (and a little extra, but who’s counting) and a whole bag of Skinny Pop, it’s time to hit the gym.

You jump on the treadmill and put “Hello” and “Water Under the Bridge” on repeat. You’ll be watching those miles add up like they’re nothing as Adele’s inspiring music gives you the strength to carry on.

Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and embrace the realization that your past does not define you. After all, as Adele reminds us, “We’ve got to let go of all of our ghosts.” And her album can help you do just that.

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Katie Anne

Notre Dame

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