After taking a six-year hiatus from music, Adele released the emotional single Easy On Me from her album 30 on October 15, 2021. Upon release, the track spent over ten weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100—surpassing her earlier reign of ten weeks atop the charts with her 2015 hit, Hello. A year later, the video for Easy On Me has over 310 million views on YouTube and shattered record after record on Spotify.
Even without these impressive numbers, there’s no doubt that this song was destined to become an instant hit. Hauntingly emotional vocals, hard-hitting lyrics, and a stunning instrumental track created the perfect trifecta of an Adele song that we would love right away. When you listen to Easy On Me, you can absolutely feel the hopelessness that she felt during this tumultuous time.
But what do these emotional lyrics mean? Read ahead to learn the true Easy On Me song meaning.
A Look Behind the Album
In interviews since its release, Adele has talked at length about how 30 was written during and about a turbulent time in her life. She was navigating a divorce, finding her true self, and contemplating the potential of continuing her whirlwind career—all while staying keenly aware of how each step of this journey would affect her son, Angelo.
“My son has had a lot of questions—really good questions, really innocent questions, that I just don’t have an answer for like ‘Why can’t you still live together?’” the singer said in a 2021 interview with British Vogue. “I just felt like I wanted to explain to him, through this record, when he’s in his 20s or 30s, who I am and why I voluntarily chose to dismantle his entire life in the pursuit of my own happiness. It made him really unhappy sometimes. And that’s a real wound for me that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to heal.”
What the Song Means to Adele
In true Adele fashion, the entirety of 30 was essentially an intimate look into her life between albums: motherhood, divorce, dating, finding her true self, and so many more tiny details sprinkled throughout.
The first song she wrote on this album, Easy On Me might just be the most emotional of them all because it’s specifically about her divorce. This piano ballad was written to try to explain the complicated situation of her divorce from Angelo’s father, Simon Konecki. She used the lyrics to explain the split, and why it was important for all of them that the two went their own way.
Easy On Me is a tale of lessons learned, love lost, a childhood in shambles, and the fear that her son will grow to resent her because of the tough decision she’s made to break up the only family he’s ever known.
Easy On Me Lyrics Meaning
Right off the bat, Adele explains that her marriage had nothing left to offer and that the only option left was to end things before she lost herself.
There ain’t no gold in this river
That I’ve been washin’ my hands in forever
I know there is hope in these waters
But I can’t bring myself to swim
After a while of going through the motions, she could no longer bring herself to wade through the troubled waters of her marriage.
Go easy on me, baby
I was still a child
Didn’t get the chance to
Feel the world around me
I had no time to choose
What I chose to do
So go easy on me
Going into the chorus, the singer sends a heartfelt message to Angelo, asking him to “go easy” on her and explaining some of the reasons why things didn’t work out between her and the child’s father.
There ain’t room for things to change
When we are both so deeply stuck in our ways
You can’t deny how hard I’ve tried
I changеd who I was to put you both first
But now I give up
The second verse explains that Adele and her now ex-husband Konecki were two separate people who were just too different, and after giving things a try, it just became too hard to try to work together as a couple. She explains that she put her marriage, her husband, and her son first, but realized that she was losing herself in the process and decided she could no longer keep doing so.
I had good intentions
And the highest hopes
But I know right now
It probably doesn’t even show
The song’s bridge is one final emotional plea and apology to Angelo, explaining that, while things might not seem fair or make sense now, she hopes that they will in the future. This ties into her hopes that the album as a whole will act as an explanation for why her marriage ended the way it did and how it was better for all three of them in the grand scheme of things.
The Music Video Nod
The video for Easy On Me, which starts in black and white before bursting into color (in the house where the video for her song Hello ended), reached nearly fifteen million views eight hours after its release. During the video, Adele pays tribute to another successful song and music video, her equally-emotional 2015 hit Hello, by including a scene that features poor cell phone reception.
Since the release of 30, Adele has returned full-time to music with a Las Vegas residency. She has been pretty open about her relationships, her mental health, chronic pain, and the struggles she’s faced over the years.
We can only hope that this journey and time of healing have helped both her and her son Angelo, who turned nine years old in 2022.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.