Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I'm Not Standing Up for Adele

Image result for adele hello

Someone bagged on Adele today. You know the English singer with the best selling single "Hello"? The Facebook post said this:
Does Adele have concerts? 
Do people go? What happens? 
How do people act at an Adele concert? 
Is it just a bunch of people standing in a crowd all trying to hit the high notes with tears streaming down their faces sending texts to their exes? 
I don't understand what you do at an Adele concert.

Someone responded to this post with the following (Edited for your reading pleasure):
Gurl, I feel you! I heard the song Hello recently and I was like OMG this girl needs a therapist. Get over it! Move on already. I don't see how anyone could like that pining crazy <expletive>"

I had to laugh at the first part. I bet people DO try to hit the high notes at Adele concerts. I bet they cry. I don't know if they text their exes, but some of her songs make a strong case for doing that, especially if you've had a few drinks. I understand that the person writing this is being sarcastic. (For goodness sakes I practically invented sarcasm! You know, like Al Gore invented the internet?) But when I read the follow up comment, I felt that went too far.
I am not going to stand up for Adele. But I am going to stand up for music that is regretful, sad and whiney.
Because I have written a lot of it.
And yes, sometimes songwriters DO need therapy. Sometimes music IS our therapy.
We are very sensitive.
We FEEEEELLLLLL things. We FEEL OTHER PEOPLE's THINGS. (Get your mind out of the gutter.) It's what makes us able to write a song in the first place. We are not afraid to bare our hearts for all to hear. We want you to feel what we are feeling. We want you to relate. To cry. To laugh. To soar. To ache. Even if it means you will think we are nut-job or a loner or a moody brooder.
I FEEL what Adele is singing about in the song Hello. If you haven't heard it. (Welcome back from under a rock!) Here are the lyrics from the chorus which basically sum up theme of the song:
Hello from the other side
I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I'm sorry for everything that I've done
But when I call you never seem to be home
Hello from the other side
At least I can say that I've tried

To tell you I'm sorry for breaking your heart
But it don't matter, it clearly doesn't tear you apart

The first time I heard this song I got the chills. First of all, Adele has an amazing voice. No, let me correct that. Adele has PIPES. She is the voice of a generation. A Whitney Houston. She hits notes that only dogs can hear and has so much soul, she'll probably get into heaven twice. Her voice is at its best in Hello and it blew me away. The second reason I got chills is because of the topic of the song. Regret. I can relate to the sentiment in this song. A long, long time ago I broke someone's heart and never got to apologize. I really, really, REALLY regret that. It's not that I tried calling and the person never picked up (that seems to be Adele's problem). It's just that I was told to go away and so I did that and then our lives took us to different places and now I have no idea where this person is. I have actually prayed that God would give me the chance to apologize, but I may never get that chance. So I can relate to Adele trying, wishing, wanting to say she is sorry to someone she knows she hurt and in the end realizing that that person has probably moved on. While not to the same degree, I can feel the sting of regret that Adele conveys in this song.
Yes, Adele, it probably is time to move on, but I FEEL you.
But I am really not defending Adele; I am defending the right of songwriters everywhere to write whine-y, depressing, regret filled songs. Write on sad song slingers! I feel you! Now back to the question: "What do people do at Adele concerts?"
Fancy that!
 A concert where you LISTEN to music. No slam-dancing, moshing, devil hand signs, or catching a broken guitar thrown out to you by a drunk bassist. (Not that there is anything wrong with going to a Chili Peppers concert. I love them.) But I also love concerts where the only thing you do is listen.
Image result for patty griffinI remember being at a Patty Griffin concert at an outdoor amphitheater. I sat in the cool summer air under the stars while she played her big brown Gibson guitar and sang in her gospel-tinged, melancholy voice about love, loneliness and loss. I didn't cry or text my ex. I just listened and admired her incredible ability to transport me right into the heart of her music, right into the vortex of emotion she conveyed so beautifully with each note, with each strum. I looked up at the stars and closed my eyes and took in the moment. Later in the concert during one of Patty's most moving songs about regret, (Listen to it here: Long Ride Home ) I noticed the handsome guy sitting across the aisle from me looked like he was in a trance. His glistening eyes were focused on Patty, and he sat perfectly still. I could hear the person behind me breathing.Yes, breathing. It was that quiet. Patty had us completely wrapped around her vocal chords, feeling every vibrato trill, mesmerized and moved. She did sing some happy songs, but for the most part, she just pulled at our heart strings and we let her.
So my point is that while it is true that Adele's song is depressing and you don't get to jump off the stage and have your friends catch you at one of her concerts, there is still value.  If you have to ask what you "do" at the concert, you have probably missed the point all together. She doesn't want you to DO anything. She wants you to listen.
And that is enough.

-Hope A. Horner, 2016
To hear some of my depressing songs, click here: Hope Horner's Music
I am also on iTunes and Amazon.

#hopehorner #adele #adelehello #pattygriffin

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