No other artist can get us in our feelings quite like Adele can. Each song in her discography explores deep themes that range from pushing past heartbreak to learning how to love yourself again. Her lyrics are so poetic and have the power to make fans sob because she always delivers them beautifully. In celebration of her latest hit, “
Easy On Me,” check out a list of 12 of Adele’s most emotional songs.
But first, let’s go back to her masterful songwriting skills. In a November 2015 interview with
The New York Times, Adele revealed what goes into each song she records. “In order for me to feel confident with one of my songs, it has to really move me,” she said. “That’s how I know that I’ve written a good song for myself — it’s when I start crying. It’s when I just break out in tears in the vocal booth or in the studio, and I’ll need a moment to myself.”
That explains why fans can’t help but get emotional with every Adele release. She has so many tracks that pull at listeners’ heartstrings, but these 12 are Adele’s most emotional to date, IMO. Before you revisit them, I recommend grabbing some tissues.
Easy On Me,” the lead single off Adele’s upcoming fourth album, is about healing after a breakup. At the start of the track, she sings, “There ain't no gold in this river that I've been washin' my hands in forever,” which could represent the realization that a relationship is going nowhere. Although it may be better to break things off for good, doing so can be scary. Adele seems to explain this when she sings, “I know there is hope in these waters but I can't bring myself to swim.” 30,
Someone Like You” is considered one of Adele’s best tracks, and when you look at the lyrics, it’s easy to see why. Also, it’s rumored to be about an ex-boyfriend. “I heard that you're settled down/ That you found a girl and you're married now,” she says as the track opens. “I heard that your dreams came true/ Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you.”
“Hello” may be one of the most personal songs Adele has ever released. During a December 2015 interview with
Today, she explained it’s based on a real experience she had while recording 25. "' Hello' is just about reconnecting with everyone else and myself,” she said at the time. “From the other side, I couldn't get over my guilt of leaving my kid to go and write a record and stuff like that. So getting over that — getting on the other side of that. It was just, you know, it's in general, just hello to everyone.”
“All I Ask” never fails to get me in my feelings. The song is about knowing it’s time to call it quits in a relationship, but wanting just one more night with your partner. “Look, don't get me wrong/ I know there is no tomorrow/ All I ask is/ If this is my last night with you/ Hold me like I'm more than just a friend,” Adele sings.
Everyone can relate to “Million Years Ago” because it’s about how bittersweet growing up can be. During the track, Adele says “life is flashing by” and she knows that she can’t do anything to stop it. “All I can do is watch and cry,” she sings. “I miss the air, I miss my friends, I miss my mother, I miss it when life was a party to be thrown but that was a million years ago.” The lyrics make you really stop and appreciate everything you have.
Of course, I had to include “
Rolling In The Deep.” The song marked Adele’s first-ever Billboard No. 1 single. It topped the chart for seven weeks in May 2011 and earned the star countless award nominations. The reason it probably became such a big hit was not only because of Adele’s powerhouse vocals, but the track’s raw and emotional lyrics. “The scars of your love remind me of us/ They keep me thinkin' that we almost had it all,” Adele sings during the pre-chorus. “The scars of your love, they leave me breathless/ I can't help feeling we could've had it all.”
performing at the Beacon Theater in New York City in May 2011, Adele said “One and Only” is about working up the courage “to tell someone who you’ve loved for ages that you want to be with them.” Fans speculated someone in Adele’s personal love life inspired the song, since she would visibly get choked up performing it on stage. In July that year, she confirmed this during her London iTunes festival performance. She said it was inspired by “someone who I really used to like.”
Adele’s emotions are apparent throughout the song, especially in the pre-chorus, when she sings, “I don't know why I'm scared/ 'Cause I've been here before/ Every feeling, every word/ I've imagined it all.”
“Make You Feel My Love”
“Make You Feel My Love,” which was originally sung by Bob Dylan for his 1997 album,
Time Out of Mind, was covered by Adele for her debut album, 19, in 2008. While countless artists have also performed the song, Adele’s cover stands out for her anthemic vocals, which can make listeners cry in an instant. “When the evening shadows and the stars appear/ And there is no one there to dry your tears/ I could hold you for a million years / To make you feel my love,” she sings. Adele told SiriusXM in November 2015 that “When We Were Young” is about one day reuniting with “everyone that you've ever fallen out with, everyone that you've ever loved, everyone that you've never loved, and stuff like that.” Oof. She explained, “You can't find the time to be in each other lives and you're all thrown together at this party when you're like 50, and it doesn't matter and you have so much fun and you feel like you're 15 again.”
Listeners definitely feel a sense of nostalgia throughout the song, but especially during the chorus, in which she sings, “Let me photograph you in this light/ In case it is the last time that we might be exactly like we were/ Before we realized we were sad of getting old.”
“Love In The Dark” is about knowing
you need to break up with your partner even though they’re making it hard for you to walk away. “I don't want to carry on like everything is fine/ The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight,” Adele sings.
“When will I see you again? You left with no goodbye, not a single word was said,” sings at the top of
“Don’t You Remember.” The song, off 21, tells a sad story of someone longing to be with their ex. “[I] hope that you find the missing piece to bring you back to me,” Adele sings during the chorus. Its all-too-relatable lyrics are what make it a standout track on her second studio album.
I couldn’t end this list without including Adele’s 2008 Grammy-nominated single, “Chasing Pavements,” which marked the singer’s first Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Like so many of her songs, the track explores a universal theme Adele has become a master at unpacking: heartbreak.
These 12 songs prove exactly why Adele is the GOAT.