Adele is one of the strongest cases in point of an artist sticking with what she knows best when it comes to a certain musical shtick–though Beyoncé and Taylor Swift are close seconds in this regard. But for Adele, it’s understandable that wanting to continue to rely on such a solid gold cash cow of lamenting over an ex would prompt her not to deviate. However, with her latest single from 25, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover),” Adele does, in fact, slightly mix up her go-to genre by putting an upbeat spin on being fucked over by the person she loved more than he loved her.
Whereas in songs like “Someone Like You” and “Hello,” Adele acted as the victim incapable of truly moving on, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” expresses a noticeably more empowered vibe as Adele asserts, “I was too strong, you were trembling/You couldn’t handle the hot heat rising–baby, I’m so rising.” The confidence of the vocals are matched by the simplicity of the accompanying video, which features Adele dancing (as though on the grave of her ex) against a black backdrop in a floor-length floral dress, comfortable and calm in her own skin. Opening with the insistence, “This was all you, none of it me,” Adele also strays from her norm of accepting equal or greater blame for the demise of a relationship (e.g. “it’s so typical of me to talk about myself, I’m sorry”).
But it doesn’t stop with Adele coolly chastising her ex; she additionally sees fit to look out for the well-being of his subsequent victim by offering the advice, “Send my love to your new lover/Treat her better/We’ve gotta let go of all of our ghosts/We know we ain’t kids no more.” And so, not only does she none too subtly get the dig in about what a shitty boyfriend she once had, but she also ends up looking like the bigger person in trying assure that his next girlfriend won’t be held in the same low esteem.
There is, however, a certain symbolism in the fact that Adele divides into multiple splits throughout the video, in an aesthetic that borrows heavily from early 90s picture day special effects–as though to say a part of her isn’t fully convinced of being “okay,” or at least that this breakup has really done a number on her schizophrenia. Elsewhere, her reminder that, “You put your hands on, on my body and told me you were ready/For the big one, for the big jump/I’d be your last love, everlasting/You and me, that was what you told me,” only further accents the generosity of her forgiveness in finally accepting her ex’s vileness. “I’m giving you up, I’ve forgiven it all,” she says. That is, until the next signature Adele breakup song that helps each and every one of us get through the pain of dealing with unreliable, ultimately disappointing people in matters of love.