We'e all been through it: heartbreak. The stuff of all the best love songs and love stories. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, they live blissfully for an undetermined length of time that of course seems to stand still, then one leaves for some tragic reason and the other is left to wallow in self-pity until the next adventure begins.
Why do we fall for these depressing, soppy songs and stories? They are like the tissues we use up, crying over our lost loves: soggy, disgusting and useless. But deep down we relate to them.
We have all wallowed in the same feelings of self-pity. And what’s even more attractive is what these songs create – something we all would have loved to have gotten in those moments of self-pity: the pity of others. People to hear our story and think: “Poor you…” with a tear in their eye.
This, is what Adele’s "Someone like you" attempts. The song starts out innocently enough, with her nostalgic memories of the lovers’ time of their lives, their glory days that nothing could possibly compare to.
Ah yes, this is the stuff of our own memories of first love. But then, the lovers are torn apart, for reasons Adele conveniently perhaps omits. He finds someone else, settles down, and "is married now."
What does this woman do? Move on like any level-headed, self-respecting woman? No, she comes back into his life (she’s ba-aack), as if that is not bad, she even admits to coming back uninvited. If this is not the makings of a full-fledged stalker, I don’t know what is.
Adele repeated reminds us how he begged her not to forget him, but do you really think he was asking for a home wrecker? We all say things we don’t mean in relationships - cut this guy some slack, Adele.
Oayk, you would think we can still find some empathy for her. She is looking for closure – "for me, it isn’t over" – she's a woman, deeply hurt. But let’s look at his point of view: this guy went on with his life, found someone else, and got married. Heck, even Adele says "his dreams came true" and that perhaps this other woman "gave him things" she didn’t give him (like a sane, decent reciprocated love relationship, maybe?).
Why on earth would she want him back? What was she expecting? That he see her face, "be reminded" of his love for her and by some magic drop his dream come true to live with this self-pitying Jekyll and Hyde?
Yes, Jekyll and Hyde, because she takes us through her bittersweet memories, makes us feel her pain, then reveals that she is stalking him – yet she still wishes him the best. I cannot help but hear the threatening tone when she wails out “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you.”
Which brings me to the question: does she mean she will actually go on with life and find someone like he has done (and any sane person would do), or as the freakish nature of the song suggests, will she find someone just like him and do it all over again?
You can watch Adele perform “Someone Like You” on YouTube here.
Susanne Toito lives and works in Oakville, Ontario. Her love affair with the language and written word began as she bloomed into adolescence, in Mr.Clancy’s grade seven classroom. She enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, and has plans to complete a novel in the near future.
See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, OrangevilleGravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.