When Adele was young
GG /FAMEFLYNET PICTURES
It hasn’t even been a month yet since Adele gave us Hello. And, just 3 days before the release of 25, here’s a live version of what’s probably the next single, When We Were Young. I’ve embedded the video below on the off chance you haven’t heard it yet. You’ll be hearing it a LOT.
Adele’s been talking about when she was young as one of the themes, if not the major theme, of the album. It was one of my favourite takeaways that I haven’t yet addressed from her amazing interview with Rolling Stone (click here if you missed that post) because I wanted to highlight it as a standalone – that Adele misses Adele. It comes up several times in the Rolling Stone profile, first here:
"I do have this, like, overwhelming yearning for myself," she acknowledges. "Every single day I have it for, like, a split second. It doesn't take over my life, but I have a yearning for myself from, like, 10 years ago when my only responsibility was writing songs for myself before anyone cared, and getting to school on time. And there was something so amazing in that. You know what? What annoys me the most is that you don't realize how amazing it is to be a kid.”
And later on here:
"I've had a lot of regrets since I turned 25," she says. "And sadness hits me in different ways than it used to." On the lovely "Million Years Ago," which sounds like a Nineties Madonna ballad mixed with "The Girl From Ipanema," Adele sings, "Sometimes I just feel it's only me/Who never became who they thought they'd be." She's realized that some of the course of her life is set, that some doors are already closed. "There's a lot of things I don't think I'll ever get 'round to doing," she says. "Not because I'm famous, but just because I just don't think I'll ever have the time. Like being a journalist, or like being a teacher."
What she’s getting at is the freedom that comes with time, all the options you have with that time. Especially the freedom and options you have with your time when, well, when you’re alone:
"And I'm never going to be on my own again," she says. "I'm a mom and I'm in a very serious relationship, so it's never going to be just me again. I don't regret any of it. Like, those aren't the things that I regret. But I feel like I didn't have very long to myself. I was my mom's kid, and now I'm a mom." She laughs. "I had, like, a five-year window of just being me."
I love the honesty in that. She’s not saying she doesn’t want her son. Of course she wants her son. But it’s also OK to miss the time before she had her son, right? After all, really, she only had 5 years of that real adult living, out of your teens, independent in your 20s – 5 years, that’s it, 5 years of Just Adele. Understandable then that she’d have some wistfulness for that experience, without negating the value of what she has now, and that this is what she wanted to make an album about instead of, as she said, an album about being a mother. Which she actually did, but ended up tossing it. In her words:
"I did write an album about being a mum but that's pretty boring. I scrapped that."
And still I feel like mums might relate even more to what 25 is – a collection of songs dedicated to the “before” without lamenting the now.