It took me about 5 years of listening to Adele’s Someone Like You before I finally decoded a hidden meaning to the song. All this while, I had been blinded by the beautiful vocal of Miss Adkins and hadn’t really bothered to read between the lines. It took one of my quiet moments in the communal Lagos jalopy also known as ‘danfo’ to come to a strange conclusion. Maybe it was the air in the danfo or maybe I’m just speed-balling here but a careful analysis of the verses revealed it wasn’t just a mere heartbreak song but that of vicious vixen, on the edge of a psychotic breakdown, will to take down her previous lover just to satisfy her selfish cravings.
So, I’m basically going to do a line-by-line analysis of the song and give my deductions from them. Here goes:
“I heard that you’re settled down, that you found a girl and you’re married now”: Harmless right?! Just a girl catching up with her ex about the things she heard through the ‘grapevine”. Turns out the ex has moved on. Why she’s still bothering him is anyone’s guess but it’s an emotional thing so it’s fine, it’s cool.
The next verse, however, seems to hint at why the relationship didn’t work out. “I heard that your dreams came true; guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you”: At this line, you smell a bit of selfishness. She was the one holding back my nigga’s dreams all this while. Man wanted to be great but she didn’t let him. She obviously knew what he needed to progress but withheld it from him. If she had said “couldn’t”, one might have been sympathetic but “didn’t” alludes to the fact that she had whatever it was but just didn’t feel like giving it.
“Old friend, why are you so shy? It ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light”: Here the mind games begin. Calling him old friend like everything is cool between them. Asking him why he’s shy because he chose to forget and not reminisce about the time they spent together (because he has friggin’ moved on. He ain’t about that hanging to past garbage crap). Trying to cajole him into seeing some false light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel ish, like a cuttlefish does to its prey. Want to force him to admit there are still feelings between y’all.
“I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it…”: The man is obviously someplace important; someplace she wasn’t invited to. A board meeting, his wedding reception, hanging out with his wife… Take your pick. But because mo gbo, mo ya. She just showed up like unwanted pregnancy, just on the flimsy whim of her feelings. How is it his business? Go and deal with it privately but no, he must go down too. Just barge in and be like, “Hey, I still have feelings for you even though, you’re married and have clearly moved on.” (But men are scum).
“I had hoped you see my face and that you’ll be reminded that for me, it isn’t over”: What did she rub on her face, a memory potion?” She just carried her face to want to spoil things for my nigga. That’s how man will have babe and not know. It’s not over for her but my guy is married. He should leave his wife?
“Never mind, I’ll find someone like you…”: This is where it gets crazy. After the rollercoaster of emotions she made him go through, leaving him skulking down a path in memory lane, he casually dismissed his, probably revived, feelings with a “Don’t even bother again, I get your type plenty outside. I’ll just replace you with someone like you.” Are you mad?! She just did a merry-go-round with his feelings. Something she could have done on her own jeje she just had to come and ruin his day. (But men are scum).
“I wish nothing but the best for you…”: Oya, come and be going abeg. Your story is too long. After telling him he can be replaced, she’s now hanging around with small talk, trying to soften the blow.
“Don’t forget me, I beg…”: So he should not forget her after all this rubbish? She wants to be living in his head, rent-free, causing him pain each time he remembers her. Wow!!! She’s the type of girl who’ll carry emotional baggage into her next relationship for the new man to suffer through.
“I remember you said, sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes, it hurts instead”: Salt in an already festering injury.
O ti su mi abeg… The second verse was just her taking him down memory lane, reminding him about events in their life. Then, she ends with the “I didn’t need to come here to tell you this but my body no go let me stay one place. So anyway, I go find person wey go replace you” line and the torture finally ends in applause.