At the center of every album is a musical thesis. The thesis of Adele’s “21” is well documented. In fact, trying to capture my thoughts after listening intently to one of the most recognizable albums of this century, is an exercise in repetition. Everything I am going to write here is something that has already been said before. With that in mind, we move forward.
Every R&B or Blues album that has ever been created shares much in common with “21.” Depending on the artist, their delivery, and your time/place, the ability of the artist to create something that resonates with a massive audience is a roll of the dice. Ultimately, this is an album about heartbreak and disappointment. Yet, it resonates with a massive audience and someone like me who primarily listens to indie rock, because of the person behind the performance. By connecting to the person, we can walk a mile in Adele’s shoes. As we do, we all realize we’ve been where she is in these stories. No matter your preferred genre, you’ve been here before.
In the R.E.M song, “Leaving New York,” is one of my favorite lyrics of all time. “It is easier to leave than be left behind.” For me, much of this album is about trying to solidify that very fact. This feeling is specifically evident at the end of the relationship. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a break-up, you know this to be true. In this collection of songs, we find someone who shares our experience. In this life, it is always a relief to know you aren’t alone.
Finally, this is an album about longing; longing for the next chapter, longing to let someone know how good they had it, longing to love again… pure and simple longing. Standing in the center of a crater that once held solid ground and the love of your life, it can feel like you may never escape. This longing is about putting the pieces back together and deciding to rebuild a better and wiser version of yourself. Again, this album resonates because we are allowed to connect with someone who understands us in this most human of ways.
Be good to each other,
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