Never mind the fact that, in person, Adele is so bubbly she’s practically effervescent . When it comes to her albums, Adele is pain personified. Alone and adrift, brokenhearted and bitter — these are emotions we all feel, but rarely do we have the courage to express them like Adele does.
And nowhere on her 21 album is that more apparent than “Someone Like You,” the stirring, somber closer in which Adele goes to visit a former love (with high hopes of a reconciliation), only to discover he has not only moved on with his life, but is in a much better place. And though she’s heartbroken, she puts on a brave face, stubbornly proclaiming she’ll find someone just like him, even if she knows that she never will. And that conclusion makes you ache not only because it’s so daunting, but because it’s so real. We’ve all felt that way, tried to trick ourselves into thinking that any other outcome was possible. In Adele’s music, much like life, there are no happy endings.
“Someone Like You” was a natural choice for the next single from 21, and on Thursday (September 29), Adele premiered the video for the song — an equally somber affair that matches not only the song’s emotional wallop, but its straightforward, downright crushing simplicity.
Shot in Paris, in the very early hours of the morning, it is little more than Adele wandering the deserted streets of the city, gazing longingly at the Seine, very nearly breaking into tears. Director Jake Nava made the smart decision to shoot it in arty, smudgy black-and-white, which only adds to the clip’s desolate, haunted feel. In a lot of ways, as she drifts along, Adele is little more than a ghost, haunting the streets, destined to remain invisible to all, especially the one she wants to notice.
It’s a lot like how everyone feels after heartbreak, and that’s what makes the “Someone Like You” video so powerful. There are no special effects, no camera tricks or elaborate choreography, because those are quick fixes. Life doesn’t operate that way, especially when the bottom falls out and we are all alone. Our days are endless, our hearts black, our skies are gray. And when it gets to that point, all we have is our pain, majestically, beautifully so. Thankfully, we also have Adele, and that sonorous, sorrowful voice of hers. Long live the Queen of Pain.
What did you think of Adele’s new video? Share your reviews in the comments.