Adele and the Married Woman

You know what is cute? Babies who love Adele.

Cute, right?

You know what is odd? Married women, ostensibly happily married women, who love Adele.

Seriously, folks. Adele’s music is beautiful, but it is the sort of music that requires one to appreciate the lyrics. And the lyrics simply do not resonate with me as a woman who is not only married, but deeply content in love.

It is crazy cute for little girls to sing along with Adele precisely because the music does not match with their lives. But that dissonance is confusing rather than cute when seen in my peers.

I am continually surprised at all those whom I see gushing about Adele. Because they just so happen to all be married women who present themselves as happily married.  So what is the draw? Why would you want to spend all day listening to lyrics about how we “could have” had it all if you do have it all?

My first thought was that perhaps all the stories about how you never get over your first love are true and all of these women are still pining for Mr. Ex even while portraying themselves to the world as happy with Mr. Perfect.

Then I heard “Rolling in the Deep” yet again and realized that maybe these songs are appealing because these women have gotten to the point where they are completely disillusioned with marriage. It may be perfectly normal to have times where you think of your husband as something of an ex considering how different your relationship is from what you could have had.

What say you? What am I missing here? Should I give up my deeply romantic Over the Rhine in exchange for some upset Adele?

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14 thoughts on “Adele and the Married Woman

  1. Cat

    When I was married, even when I was very happily married, I didn’t shy away from lyrics about doubt, disillusionment, wanting, being scorned, etc. Carole King and Carly Simon are two of my all-time favorites, and neither of them was kind to the institution of marriage or happy romance in general…

    To some extent, my security in my marriage allowed me to experience the dominant mood of the song without being swallowed whole, if that makes any sense. I was long single by the time Adele was popular, but I can imagine myself singing “we could have had it all” on my way home from work, trunk full of groceries, and think about the times when the wasbund and I were still dating, making up and breaking up, and how sad and scary that was, and I might put the windows down and sing loud and deep and really let myself remember that yearning, because when the song is over, I’m pulling into my driveway and he’s coming out to unload the groceries.

    I’ll tell you one thing for sure. When the marriage ended, I avoided that music like the plague unless I was wallowing privately, because I couldn’t catch a chorus over a room full of conversation without my eyes welling and my chin trembling.

    for what it’s worth. :)

  2. Michelle

    Perhaps the fact that I have no idea what or whom you are speaking about is a clue that I am perfectly content in my marriage? Or else I am completely out of touch, right? :)

  3. Kelly @ Startup Wife

    I love Adele! (And am happily married.) How interesting, I would’ve never thought of it this way. I love music/writing/art/etc. that allows me a full, fleshed-out glimpse into just about any experience, whether it’s one I can relate to personally or not. People baring their souls for me to see, I guess. :) Whether or not it matches mine. The same reason why I like Eminem’s music–for what it exposes about the human condition.

  4. Mary

    although I knew of Adele’s existence, i never actually listened to anything of hers until after the Glee mashup, and i went to check out the original songs. And now sometimes i like to sing along just like the little girl in the video clip.
    As said above, perhaps its the happy marriage that keeps us safe from feeling the song too much. When my sister hears it, its something more to her and means something, but i don’t connect on it at the same level.
    its harder to find songs about happily married people that you can sing your lungs out to.

  5. alison

    i always listen to lyrics, always always always.
    but something about adele’s voice and song just hits my soul without my mind needing to translate what the lyrics really mean. override button gets hit and my body just wants to sway with my eyes closed.
    that’s really all it is for me.

  6. Kacie

    ditto to Kelly. I wonder about Adele’s experience with the breakup when I hear her song. I think of my newly divorced friend. I personally can’t relate much right now, but it’s still interesting. Mostly I love her music, though! :)

  7. Kristy

    Rae, you crack me up. I think a lot of people like Adele – married or no – because (1) she has an incredible voice; and (2) because they can relate to the lyrics. If you’ve been in a romantic relationship that ended, you can probably relate to either the anger or the gut-wrenching my-life-is-over feelings (dramatic, perhaps, but you don’t feel like it is in that moment). Probably even both.

    As a very happily married woman, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I don’t have to go through any of that ever again. Normal life & hormones give me enough to be emotional about, thanks. ;)

  8. Mama Kalila

    Haven’t read through replies yet (sure I will at some point lol), but I love the songs of hers that I’ve heard… Not so much because it speaks to me at this point in my life but because I can remember when it did. I’m over the past and love my husband, our life together and all that… but memories aren’t all bad and a part of my history. It shaped who I am now…

  9. Sarah @ Beaten Copper Lamp

    I don’t worry about married Adele fans so much as the middle-aged moms who swoon over Twilight. Now that’s messed up.

    I love Adele’s music for her powerful voice and throwback style. Previous commenters are correct that being secure in love allows you to enjoy the music without drowning in the drama of the lyrics. My college self would have ached at “Someone Like You,” now I can just appreciate the sound. The same goes for Kelly Clarkson’s girl-power anthems.

  10. Paula

    I have to agree with you Rae … while I find Adele’s voice absolutely stunning, I have also found myself wondering who her fan base is. Can youngsters understand the depth of the lyrics? I can recall times of deep aching angst, and that is where her songs seem to dwell. I suppose that as a younger (teen-age or young 20s) person I would get lost in songs like “On my Own” from Les Mis, and maybe that’s the same kind of song as “Someone Like You.”

  11. Kathryn McGehee @ Everyday Immram

    I am a newly happily married, and I also love Adelle’s music.

    On one level, it’s her voice. There aren’t many starlets out there whose voice shares her richness and sultry sound. It’s a positive thing for all the Alto ladies out there to have someone to sing a long to. Then there is also her image. She’s not some talentless waif who is making it on her good looks like many other singers out there (albeit she is a gorgeous lady, just not the Hollywood stereotype….which brings me to my next point….)

    She is a woman of substance, and of size….and insisted on not losing weight to fit a media image. She has openly stated that she loves her body, and by golly….if a woman who is the same dress size as me can make it, then maybe I can too. She proves beautiful comes in all sizes by being herself. It’s actually a great thing for someone like me, who struggles with being a larger size to know it’s ok to be that size.

    Then, the lyrics of her music: you do make a good point about how a happy person could possibly relate. I love the sadness that comes across in her music. It’s a real sadness that proves she has lived. For me, her music reminds me of a day when I also lived that kind of heartache. It brings me back to my struggles as a single trying to find my husband and making misstep after misstep. It reminds me of the tears that came often, of the pain of missing people when they didn’t work out or who turned out to be far from who I thought they would be. And it serves as a reminder that I no longer live that life. I can look back in introspection and thanksgiving that I did eventually meet my prince charming and we are very happy together. But today, I am a woman with experiences to look back on, not just Mrs. M, student and homemaker. I like Adelle’s music, because it makes me remember that.

    1. Hannah

      This is exactly how I feel about her music. It serves as a reminder and I can appreciate the lyrics because at some time in my life they could have been written by me, had I had the talent.

  12. Hannah

    I don’t think that you have to feel the lyrics to understand them. I love Adele. Adore her, in fact. I am a girl who is happy with her relationship, in love, planning a wedding.

    I wasn’t always that girl. I was once someone more angry, more hurt and more broken than you can imagine. I’d survived a wonderful relationship becoming so hideous and coming so close to breaking me as a person that lyrics like this will always remind me that after bad, comes good, and that I am so lucky that my life today is so different than it was two short years ago.

    Not only that, Adele’s voice is just perfection. Her lyrics are beautiful. The music is strong. She is also so fabulous. Funny, crass and proud of who she is. She sets such a great example to women – in her imperfections as much as her perfection. She is a real woman and that can resonate with any woman regardless of the lyrics in her songs.

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