Adele: The authentic artist


Ryan Murphy

“That’s pretty basic,” my sister told me when I suggested we listen to Adele over the Thanksgiving break. While I have very happily hopped on the “25” bandwagon, I suppose she views consensus as a threat to her individuality.

If you have not listened to any of the songs from this new album, it’s time to crawl out from under your rock and say hello to the rest of the world. I don’t think you’ll regret it, and in the meantime, my sister can send my love to the other hipsters who cry “I miss you” to singers once they lose obscurity.

Then again, it seems unlikely that anyone has missed the phenomenon that this album has been. Billboard reports that “25” has now sold over four million copies in the United States alone. This success is astounding, especially considering the rocky landscape that is the music industry. According to The New York Times, annual CD sales have dropped to 141 million from 700 million back when we were young 15 years ago.

What is Adele’s remedy to these rather dismal figures? It is certainly not the shameless self-promotion most celebrities indulge – just water under the bridge in our daily browsing. She seems to understand how that sort of nonsense can make a person want to jump into the River Lea.

Instead, Adele keeps a notably low profile on her social media accounts. She has also turned down other promotional opportunities. As she explained to The New York Times, “Commercials, being the face of brands, nail varnishes, shoes, bags, fashion lines, beauty ranges, hair products, being in movies, being the face of a car, designing watches, food ranges, buildings, airlines, book deals. I’ve been offered everything. And I don’t want to water myself down.”

She deliberately stayed out of the spotlight following her previous album, “21,” in order to create more authentic music.

“Everyone thinks I just disappeared, and I didn’t,” she said in the same article. “I just went back to real life, because I had to write an album about real life, because otherwise how can you be relatable? If I wrote about being famous – that’s [expletive] boring.”

While Adele’s fans clamor to hear her music, their devotion isn’t love in the dark. That is to say, they are equally enamored with her relatability and the passion with which she creates. These are refreshing qualities in a world obsessed with attention or fame, however fleeting. I find fitting The A.V. Club’s coined phrase “anti-Kardashian” to describe Adele. We could use a few more anti-Kardashians in the public eye – not to mention in the presidential race.

A million years ago, nobody dreamed of the modern music industry, much less the star that is Adele – what a time to be alive. All I ask is that my sister and the other hipsters give “25” a chance. They may end up joining those of us who listen to this humble Londoner croon with the sweetest devotion.