Aidan Moffat Takes A Closer Look At Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’

A few years ago, Aidan Moffat sorted out your sexual problems in his I'm No Expert column. Now he resurrects it to scrutinise the lyrics of pop ancient and modern. First up, a terrifying encounter with Adele...

According to Wikipedia, Adele’s number 1 single ‘Someone Like You’ has “received universal acclaim by music critics”, and yet to my ears it sounds like it was especially penned by a rom-com robot for a new Häagen Dazs-sponsored Girls’ Night In compilation. But as well as being badly written, saccharine gibberish, it’s also quite scary, psychologically troubling and emotionally stunted. Am I the only one listening to the words or what?

"I heard that you’re settled down,

That you found a girl and you’re married now,"

A 2007 survey of UK couples concluded that the average time from first meeting to marriage proposal is two years and 11 months, and Adele seems pretty average to me. So if I’m already married and settled down then we can safely assume the honeymoon’s over and my wife and I have been wearing gold bands for quite a while now. So how long has it been since we split up? Three-and-a-half-years maybe? Four years? Five? More than five?

"I heard that your dreams came true,

Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you,

Old friend, why are you so shy?

Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light,"

Because, honestly, I’m slightly scared . . .

"I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited,

But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it,"

Turn up out of the blue? Okay, so that means you knew where to find me, so you’re likely to be either at my work, which is mental, or at my house, which is even worse. If you’re at my house and I’m in, that means I’m not working, and if I’m not working then my wife probably isn’t either. Which means she’s at home, listening at the window and wondering who the mad weirdo with the sad eyes at the door is. Maybe she’s even pregnant now, or she could be breastfeeding our first child as I stand here listening to you emote at the front door. And maybe she’s about to phone the police or the Samaritans, or maybe you’re about to get a slap – trust me, don’t ever mess with a new mother. So, if you know where I live or work, then you probably know – or could easily have found out – my phone number. Or have I been forced to make it ex-directory after a spate of midnight calls from a sobbing ex? Don’t you think a call or a text would have been better? Or even an email? I’ve probably still got the same email address, unless of course it was changed due to an ongoing barrage of broken-hearted grief-spam.

"I had hoped you’d see my face,

And that you’d be reminded that for me it isn’t over,"

As you well know, since we split up I’ve met someone new, courted, proposed, planned a wedding, married, honeymooned, and settled down, presumably as part of a larger family and most likely with the intention of starting a new one. Indeed it’s quite reasonable to presume that I’m already a Dad now, so the only thing that your face reminds me of is the invaluable comfort of knowing there’s a good lock on my son’s bedroom window.

"Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you,"

Fair enough – what are you so upset about then? This line suggests you’re pretty confident and carefree, so what are you doing turning up at my house after all these years at this time of night? Oh, I see – you’re just trying to convince yourself, aren’t you? In which case, may I suggest that you find someone who isn’t like me at all? Maybe that way the relationship might have a better chance of success. Just a thought.

"I wish nothing but the best for you, too,"

When did I say that? Because I take it back, nut-job.

"Don’t forget me, I beg,"

You haven’t really given me the chance, have you?

"I remember you said,

‘Sometimes it lasts in love,

But sometimes it hurts instead,’

Sometimes it lasts in love,

But sometimes it hurts instead, yeah,"

Yeah… I was being nice. You didn’t seem to grasp it all those years ago the first time round, so let me put it in simpler terms you’ll hopefully understand: I don’t love you anymore.

"You know how the time flies,

Only yesterday was the time of our lives,"

Only yesterday? I’VE GOT A WIFE NOW.

"We were born and raised in a summer haze,"

Wait a minute, we need to clarify something here – are you implying that we only went out for the duration of one summer? Now I’m really scared. What did you say your name was again?

"Bound by the surprise of our glory days,"

I haven’t a clue what you’re on about now.

"Nothing compares,

No worries or cares,

Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made,"

Yes, memories. As in: HISTORY.

"Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?"

Bittersweet for you, maybe. I think I’m doing alright, to be honest. I’ve got a wife, a new home and a beautiful baby boy. How are things going for you?

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today