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Why It’s Okay Not to Like Adele

I’m sure you’re out there – the dwindling minority of the record buying public that doesn’t own a copy of either 19 or 21 by Adele. I’ve written this article with you mind – you’re not alone, guys!

Let me start off by saying “fair play” to the woman. Very few recording artists alive today – and even fewer dead ones – can say that they have sold more LPs than any other person in the world and universe (citation needed). I don’t begrudge her the success at all…well, maybe I do a bit.

Just because an artist is a huge financial and charting success, it doesn’t mean that one and all must worship at their churches unrelentingly. Here are three reasons why you can look at your music collection and feel satisfied that there is neither hide nor hair of the grating chanteuse:

Reason #1: Poor, poor lyrics

Old friend, why are you so shy? Ain’t like you to hold back and Or hide from the light I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited But I couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it I’d hoped you’d see my face And that you’d be reminded that for me It isn’t over

A chunk of lyrics there from the gazillion-selling number one single “Someone Like You.” What strikes me is that Adele sounds like she’s a bit unhinged, a bit…crazy? The last thing a guy needs from his ex-partner is for them to turn up uninvited at his mother’s 70th birthday party and starting crying into the hummus, shouting that you should take her back because she knows all your credit card PINs. Okay, I exaggerate a little, but if you actually read the lyrics to “Someone Like You,” it seems like it was written by a manic-depressive Sophie Kinsella. Did Emmeline Pankhurst really go through all she did for this?

But I set fire to the rain, Watched it pour as I touched your face, Well, it burned while I cried, ‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name.

This is the song that especially grinds my gears: “Set Fire to the Rain.” You can’t set fire to rain, because it’s water. I understand that there’s an abstract metaphor in there somewhere about: “well, it’s like, you know – all to do with relationships and stuff.”  But it’s a rubbish metaphor, full of contrived imagery and pseudo-amorous intent. Leave it out.

Reason #2: “She’s SOOO Down To Earth!” – No, She Isn’t

A cheery cockney accent does not instantly make you “down to earth.” Last year, Adele complained in an interview with Q about having to pay a £4,000,000 tax bill:

“I’m mortified to have to pay 50%! I use the NHS, [but] I can’t use public transport any more. Trains are always late, most state schools are shit, and I’ve gotta give you, like, four million quid – are you having a laugh? When I got my tax bill in from [the album] 19, I was ready to go and buy a gun and randomly open fire.”

It’s very well and good complaining about tax like the rest of us, but I would wager that most of Adele’s fans are not likewise high earners. Four million is 50% of eight million: that’s probably how much about 2,500 of Adele’s fans earn combined – maybe even more. So moaning about such a massive amount of money when a venue full of people don’t even earn that much is probably not the best thing to do.

And wanting to “buy a gun and randomly open fire?” You might want to reconsider those words when you want people to consider you “down-to-earth.”

Reason #3: There Are Better Artists Out There

Kate Bush. Siouxsie Sioux. PJ Harvey. Melody Gardot. Anna Calvi. Patti Smith. Joni Mitchell. The list could go on and on, really.

If you haven’t bought a copy of an Adele album, then I suggest you spend the money you had reserved for it on an album by one of those above.

Hounds of Love by Kate Bush is one of most erudite and creative pieces of pop to ever written. Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea by PJ Harvey encapsulates the feeling of love and loss better than any Adele song ever could (see: “You Said Something” or “A Place Called Home”). Alternatively, you could go for Horses by Patti Smith, Ladies of the Canyon by Joni Mitchell or perhaps even The Rapture by Siouxsie & the Banshees. Hell, get Rumours by Fleetwood Mac if you want.

All of these albums have something that neither 19 nor 21 have: spirit, soul and genuine emotion.

Have a listen to ‘Dancing Barefoot’ by Patti Smith:

So, next time you walk into your nearest reputable music-selling store, take a moment to look at Adele’s tortured brow on the front cover of 21, then just walk on by – you don’t need to follow the rest of the world. If I can do it, you can too!

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