We watched in horror. Almost too sad to put our lament into words, many defaulted to a red, blue, and white filter over their profile pic. The most romantic city in the world, for the second time in a year, had been the target of devastation. As the glow of the City of Light struggled to shine through the smoke and debris, here in America we tried our best to express hope and courage. This loss of words, though, quickly reversed into chaos.
One week we were unified with a country that was experiencing their own 9/11, the next we were at war with ourselves over the fate of the Syrian refugees, the punctuation on an era in American history plagued by polarizing stances. Then out of the fog of your friends, neighbors, and semi-acquaintances all-caps-yelling at one another, the silky, smooth vibrations of a lioness roared out…”Hello.”
Adele brought the world together. We laughed as Saturday Night Live drew attention to the phenomenon of her newest release “25,” but it is grounded in clear truth. The anger, the lament, the yelling, the hurt, the chaos of the news cycle bowed to the belting persona Slate calls, “foul-mouthed and self-deprecating, with a thick North London accent, [resembling] a Brit version of Jennifer Lawrence except unapologetically plus-sized.”
Adele took over the world, it happened, proven now as we all say bye, bye, bye to Nsync’s 15-year-old record of albums sold in a week. But, as she was conquering us all, she might have also saved us all. Is it her voice? Is it her timeless melodies? Is it her relatable lyrics? Is it her down-to-earth demeanor? Yes, all of it. Adele is unique, but speaks for us all. Here are three ways Adele saved the world.
1.) She demanded silence
Her previous albums, that have now sold over 30 million copies, taught us how to grieve the losses of life. Unfortunately, they left us there. It was like a grief counselor perfectly describing why you feel crumby followed by, “Now all you need to do to move on and feel better is…” We have been waiting four years on that ellipsis! Paused, holding our breath, an ear to the world listening for her to complete her next sentence. Then it came and we all shut up to listen. It is a voice that demands respect, a voice that fills our ears like it belongs there. It belongs there because Adele holds a specific place in our lives.
2.) She became our big sister
With 19 and 21, Adele was introduced to us as a best friend. She was lyrically going through what we’ve all gone through. She sat at our Sex and the City brunch table, sipping her cosmo shooting the breeze about her break up through her delightful Cockney cackle. Now, though, Adele has matured and transitioned from our best gal pal to our big sister. The gap from your teen/early twenties into almost-thirties is a canyon of failures, successes, wisdom, and obliviousness that lays a lot of the foundation of who we become as we live out rest of our lives and with 25 Adele sure is living. She’s moving on and bringing us with her. She is sitting on the edge of our bed with us saying, don’t worry younger sibling, your heart will mend, there is hope. 25 still cuts with the shards of fresh breaks but is complex enough to exhibit her growth as an artist and a person.
3.) She gives millennials a good name
And our generation is complex! We don’t have the luxury our previous generations have of a more black and white society and we are just now getting over the ignorance of our youth. As the millennial generation matures we need more distinct voices to put the words to our shades of gray. Those same words we were searching for under the rubble of our political polarization. Our generation so far has largely been defined by YouTube rants and selfie captions, but we are maturing past the doodled on pages of our diaries. We are starting to see the world. We are starting to get involved and cast vision for the future. Now Adele is our soundtrack for that.
There is so much about our world that doesn’t make sense right now. As we try to make sense of it all, the power Adele has flexed this week gives us hope. Simultaneously, as she asks her lover in “All I Ask,” “what if I never love again?,” the response to her album proves that, even after four years of silence, we will love again. We will hurt again. We will cry again. But absolutely, undeniably we will love again.