The newest Adele single is “Water Under the Bridge” off the album 25 released in 2015.
It follows other pop songs in that critical post-love, pre-breakup time (Think P!nk and Nate Reuss’s “Just Give Me A Reason“). It’s filled with indecision and and angst about the future of their relationship, and whether the person she is talking to wants continue their relationship.
If you’re not the one for me
Then how come I can bring you to your knees?
If you’re not the one for me
Why do I hate the idea of being free?
The speaker is starting out with the focus on herself. She wonders why they have such a connection if they aren’t “meant for each other.”
She then switches the emphasis to her partner:
And if I’m not the one for you
You’ve gotta stop holding me the way you do
Oh, honey, if I’m not the one for you
Why have we been through what we have been through?
Again, she focuses on the (rather superficial) reasons couples think they’re meant for each other. They hold each other closely, have been through a lot, and don’t want to break up. That certainly suggests that they are meant to be, of course.
It’s so cold out here in your wilderness
I want you to be my keeper
But not if you are so reckless
Now, we are getting into the crux of the relationship problems. The suggestion of “cold” speaks more to the feelings of her partner, like when we call someone “cold” or “warm,” especially since she then connects it to “his wilderness.”
The implication of wanting a “keeper,” as well, could be read as problematic. To each her own, but most of us don’t want a person to “keep us,” but someone to share in life together.
Finally, she calls her partner “reckless,” and threatens their relationship because of it. We aren’t privy to what she considers recklessness, but it still lends to the reading that maybe this isn’t a relationship worth saving.
If you’re gonna let me down, let me down gently
Don’t pretend that you don’t want me
Our love ain’t water under the bridge
Like last week, we see a reference to letting down/being let down by a partner, which suggests she lacks confidence as far as the relationship is concerned. Especially partnered with, “If you’re gonna… let me down gently.” This suggests, even though she says if, that she’s expecting to be let down by her partner.
I’ve been fairly judgmental about this nonexistent relationship, but I think that last line brings it back to a more universal place. Whatever their problems are, she still cares for him and hopes that isn’t it. I understand that.
What are you waiting for?
You never seem to make it through the door
And who are you hiding from?
It ain’t no life to live like you’re on the run
Have I ever asked for much?
The only thing that I want is your love
It seem’s like the speaker is in a one-sided relationship. While her partner is drawn to her (“You never make it through the door”), she seems the more invested of the two. She’s wondering why her partner isn’t committing to her: “Who are you hiding from,” “like you’re on the run,” and “Have I asked for much?”
The song repeats from there, but certainly I can’t be the only one thinking girl, you deserve better!
Image Source Credit: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52181569