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Music Video Breakdown: ‘Easy On Me’

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The wait is finally over. Adele released the lead single from her new album “30” with an accompanying music video six years after the release of her previous album “25.” “30” is a response to her divorce from Simon Konecki, which was finalized in 2019. In her British Vogue interview, she described this album as “self-destruction, then self-reflection, and then sort of self-redemption”.

A lot has happened for Adele and the world since the release of “25,” but the “Easy on Me” video released on Oct. 14 is comfortingly recognizable in style. It is testament to the extraordinary distinctness of Adele’s influence not only within her music but also within the visual space, that if you were presented with the “Easy on Me” music video with no context or sound, you would still know who the artist is immediately.

The video begins in black and white, with several shots of the interior of an empty, old-looking house that appears to be all packed up. Adele appears at a window with a slight smile playing on her lips. There is a shot of her in the hallway, briefcase in hand, putting on big sunglasses, and looking back once before she leaves the house. Outside the wind is howling, whipping the trees and Adele’s beautifully blow dried hair. She is on the phone but loses signal. Sound familiar?

Much is the same in the “Hello” music video: the wind, the old house, the lack of signal. However, there are some crucial differences. Unlike in “Hello,” Adele is selling the house and driving off, not retreating inside of it. There are no flashbacks to a previous relationship and no cup of tea being made — how could you betray British people like that Adele!

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Jokes aside, this video feels very much forward-facing and focused solely on Adele. Although other figures do appear in the music video, they appear only once and are not a key part of the story, unlike in “Hello” in which Adele recalls her ex. It makes sense considering the sentiment Adele expressed in her British Vogue interview: “I really want people to hear my side of the story this time.”

Adele flicks her iconic eyeliner-coated eyes to look directly at us in the rearview mirror and the song begins. As she cruises down the road, she passes by a smiling family sitting beside a caravan with the banner, “Happy Holidays,” strung across it. Adele smiles, but there is a bitter undercurrent of pain to the image given the recent breaking apart of Adele’s own family. A young smiling newlywed couple speeds past her as she sings the lyric “I was still a child / Didn’t get the chance to / Feel the world around me.” The pairing of image and lyric feels like a learned warning from Adele to slow down and enjoy the world alone first.

A sudden shift into colour as the second chorus begins signifies a transition to a redemptive, uplifting tone as Adele appears to transition from nostalgia to looking ahead and from the darkness of former relationships to the light of focusing on herself and slowing down. Hopefully it is also an exciting omen for the vibrancy of the rest of the album to come.

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