Goodbye, Taylor Swift. Hello, again, Adele. Within hours of its release, Adele’s latest album “30” replaced Taylor Swift’s re-released “Red (Taylor’s Version)” at the top of iTunes’ charts.
While Adele ended her musical hiatus with a heart-wrenching collection of songs, this album gives her audience more than just a glimpse into her recent divorce. “Adele . . . now has an album that ups the stakes and nuance of her artistry,” said Jillian Mapers, an editor at Pitchfork. “Not just in telling a story over the course of 12 songs . . . but by being bold enough to share it all so vulnerably, with the entire world listening.”
Adele is undoubtedly vulnerable, but her decision to share as much as she does in “30” is not bold. It’s reckless.
The singer overexposes her life, making “30” as an exercise in too much information. It’s TMI about her own life, sure, but at least that’s her own business. But even worse, it’s TMI about the people around her.
Adele’s worst offense comes on “My Little Love,” at the expense of her 9-year-old son. She cries out to him: “I’m so far gone and you’re the only one who can save me.” Adele is putting all the pressure on her son to be her refuge. She should have stopped there. Instead, she took the extraordinary step of inserting voice memos from what are apparently real conversations with her son into the song.
“I feel like you don’t love me,” says the boy.
“Why do you feel like that?” she asks.
“Do you like me?”
“You know mommy doesn’t like anyone else like I like you, right?”
These moments in “My Little Love” are striking because they are intimate. It’s heart-wrenching to hear Adele’s son question his own mother’s love—and a conversation like that should remain private. Instead, Adele was willing to exploit her son’s fears for the sake of selling songs.
Adele, like all artists, constantly faces the challenge of projecting beauty to her audience in an intimate, honest way. Great artists are genuine, and art that lacks intimacy falls flat. But did her son know she was recording him? Even if he knew, can a 9-year-old really consent to such a thing? Growing up as the child of a celebrity must be difficult — and when celebrity parents use their children to advance their career, they make it even harder.
There’s a word for Adele’s behavior: oversharing.
Across all social media platforms, oversharing is rampant in our culture. People post text message threads with their significant others and TikToks revealing every occurrence of their day.
There is true beauty in the intricate intimacies of our lives. Artists recognize that beauty, capture it, and form it into something for us to see, read, or hear. Maybe some beautiful moments are worth sharing, but many beautiful moments are worth keeping to yourself.
If every ordinary moment is plastered across Instagram for all to see, it becomes habitual to turn your life into a performance. Suddenly you wake up in the morning deciding what coffee to make based on how good the picture will turn out.
Nobody wants to hear a mediocre break-up song from Adele—we want raw, relatable, earth-shattering beauty. Adele hasn’t let her art fall flat, stripping it of honesty and intimacy. But she’s crossed lines of consent for the sake of her music and success. Oversharing disregards privacy and can damage people in the process.
Though many may applaud Adele for this vulnerability, her transparency reveals a depth to her heartbreak that we just don’t need to hear. She can be intimate and honest without exposing another human’s insecurity—that sets apart a truly great artist.
Adele’s break-up shouldn’t be a movie for all to see. It’s possible to write beautiful music without exposing too much. This album is possibly the most intimate and emotional music we’ve heard all year. But don’t let Adele’s honest appeal hide her blatant oversharing, and don’t let her powerful voice influence your own emotions.
Adele ends her story saying, “I’d do it all again like I did it.” Maybe she will do it all again. If she does, she should go easy on us—by keeping it to herself.