Adele is back and she blazes both Vogue US and British Vogue in style.
The double drop, which the singer casually premiered on social media moments ago, forms part of what promises to be an epic promotional ride for her forthcoming album. Preceded by the single ‘Easy On Me’ (due next Friday, October 15), the star’s fourth LP is expected in the Fall.
Beyond posing it up in shoots lensed by Alasdair McLellan and Steven Meisel, the 33-year-old opened up about the project in considerable depth, as well as her new relationship with Rich Paul, and confronting self.
Pics and quotes below…
On The Theme Of Her New Album:
“I feel like this album is self-destruction, then self-reflection and then sort of self-redemption. But I feel ready. I really want people to hear my side of the story this time.”
On Her 2019 Split From Simon Konecki:
“I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy. Neither of us did anything wrong. Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved. It’s really important to me. I’ve been on my journey to find my true happiness ever since.”
On The Theme Of Her Project:
“I realized that I was the problem. Cause all the other albums are like, You did this! You did that! F*ck you! Why can’t you arrive for me? Then I was like: Oh, sh*t, I’m the running theme, actually. Maybe it’s me!”
Excerpt On The Creative Contributors To The Album:
She gathered some of her closest collaborators: producer Greg Kurstin, who worked with her on 25; supreme pop hitmaker Max Martin; and her new favourite, Inflo, the London-based producer known for his work with Little Simz and Sault. She even pulled in Swedish composer and producer Ludwig Göransson, who won an Academy Award for his Black Panther score and has worked closely with Childish Gambino.
On There Being No Features On The Project – Or Any Project:
“It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s not calculated. It’s just never been right for some reason.”
Extract On The New Music, Which She Previewed:
The first song she plays is the first song on the album, a gut-wrenching plea of a piano ballad, the chorus of which goes: “Go easy on me baby / I was still a child / Didn’t get the chance to / Feel the world around me.” Her voice does different impossible Adele-ish things with the refrain “go easy,” and although it starts to take on a euphoric tone, by the end, I feel pummeled. “So that’s that one,” she says quietly. “Do you like it?” (Perhaps the only thing more surreal than having Adele play you her new music in her kitchen is the revelation that she feels nervous and vulnerable doing so).
She queues up another one. “The next song is the one I wrote when I went to the studio the day after Angelo said I can’t see you.” A certain combination of elements—sexy ’70s groove, heavy strings, heavier lyrics—immediately calls to mind Marvin Gaye. (What’s Going On was a “very big reference” on the album, turns out.) “My little love,” Adele sings in a low, smoky register. “I see your eyes / Widen like an ocean / When you look at me / So full of my emotions.” Between verses are snippets of conversations she had with Angelo during the Year of Anxiety, recorded at her therapist’s suggestion. The song ends with bits of a raw, teary voicemail she left for a friend. She was inspired to incorporate voice notes by Tyler, the Creator and the British rapper Skepta, she explains. “I thought it might be a nice touch, seeing as everyone’s been at my door for the last 10 years, as a fan, to be like, Would you like to come in?”
I’m not sure I will survive another of Adele’s new songs, but as she plays four more, it becomes clear that they are mapping a progression. The next one is cathartic, a soulful promise of new love that has her repeating variations of: “I just want to love you for free / Everybody wants something from me / You just want me.” The fourth song is downright upbeat, meant to be a laugh-while-you’re-crying respite from the heaviness—“Otherwise we’d all kill ourselves, wouldn’t we?” Then comes a joyous anthem. Over gospelly organ she sings: “Let time be patient / Let pain be gracious.” Toward the end a chorus of her friends chimes in, chant-singing, “Just hold on, just hold on,” over and over. “The thing that they’re all singing is what my friends used to say to me,” Adele explains. “That’s why I wanted them to sing it, rather than an actual choir.”
She wants to play me a last song, the seven-minute opus that concludes the new album. It’s a knockout. A string-swirling, Garland-invoking, jazzy, campy, swooning delight, packed with world-weary end-of-the-show reflection, and featuring a vocal for the ages. She watches happily as I beam my way through listening to it. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was playing on the television in the studio when she recorded it, and she says it’s the end song the movie should have had. But it’s also the coda on her recent chapter.
On Her New Relationship With Rich Paul:
“Yes, we’re together,” confirms Adele. It’s been a few months, apparently, although they’ve had friends in common for ages. “We’re very happy.
I didn’t mean to go public with it. I just wanted to go to the game. I just love being around him. I just love it.” The topic did come up on the way to the game, though. “He was like, What are people going to say? And I was like, That you signed me. As an athlete. You’re my agent. And he was like, Okay, cool.”
On Her Outlook With This New Album:
“It’s sensitive for me, this record, just in how much I love it. I always say that 21 doesn’t belong to me anymore. Everyone else took it into their hearts so much. I’m not letting go of this one. This is my album. I want to share myself with everyone, but I don’t think I’ll ever let this one go.”
Great feature! It’s Adele season and we couldn’t be more excited!