Why Are We So Obsessed With Adele?

In case you haven’t heard it yelled from the mountaintop, Adele’s 25 has become 2015’s biggest-selling album, having sold 2.3 million copies in just three days and effectively breaking the US single-week sales record held by *NSYNC up until that point.

She also destroyed on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and SNL, and at least 14 000 pieces are written about her every ten minutes in America, Canada, and the United Kingdom. (I made up that last part, but it sure sounded accurate, didn’t it?) Adele is everywhere, and we love it, and if she leaves again I will smother myself in copies of 25 and pass silently away. I am obsessed with her. You are obsessed with her. Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone are obsessed with her. Why are we so obsessed with her?

Two words, friends: emotional vulnerability. (See: being real.)

Considering we spend 95 percent of our lives curating the perfect Instagram and/or Twitter feeds, hoping to exude a level of perfection the rest of the world can hardly compare to, we ironically want more than anything for our idols to be relatable. We want stars to be just like us. We want to know we could be adopted by super-squads. We read into lyrics, hoping they somehow allude to real-life shenanigans and/or that we’ve been through the same things. We want candid interviews, wardrobe malfunctions, trips on steps, and accidental swears.

We want Adele.

Adele, in the words of my favourite Amy Poehler story (about Amy Poehler, not about Adele, so let’s make that perfectly clear) doesn’t give a fuck what you think. She is unabashedly herself. She speaks with purpose, with warm sincerity, and says things we’re afraid to. (See: her Rolling Stone discussion of “squads.”) After winning an Oscar, she chose to bow out for a minute and dedicate time to raising her son and writing as she saw fit. She didn’t Instagram her life to death or even engage much on Twitter. She had other things to do. Because, duh.

It’s refreshing that the most successful artist in music right now is someone who hasn’t played by the rules we’ve been made to believe are necessary. It’s exciting that an artist who sings so emotionally and so vulnerably is also an emotional and vulnerable person (and also has a fear of large crowds, which is irony at its finest). It’s fantastic that she embraces those aspects of herself, and does so unabashedly. She says what she thinks, and she delivers it in a way that’s unique to her. She is Adele, not Adele-trying-to-be-what-or-who-is-in. And by being Adele, she sends the message that we can be ourselves, too.

This is why I’m obsessed with Adele, at least. It’s a relief to know that you can be a genuine version of yourself, both in your music and in life, and achieve things most people only dream about. It’s important to know that emotions and vulnerability don’t make you weak, and that expressing those things will only draw people closer to you. It’s cool that you don’t necessarily need to brand yourself if you’re not into doing that, and can hustle and work and hone your talent without having to bestie with every relevant celebrity for the sake of Valencia-tinted photo ops. It’s a relief to know that the traits that make you a person can be enough.

So maybe that’s why 42% of all music consumed this weekend was Adele’s. (Seriously.) We need the reminder that it’s okay to be, well, real.

Tags: 25, Anne T. Donahue, wool

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