Adele's New Song 'Hold On' Explains Why She Didn't Record an Album in 5 Years

Adele is the queen of turning her feelings and experiences into really incredible songs. So, how else would she have written the songs on her newest and most anticipated fourth album, 30? Fans, critics, and even Adele herself are all in agreement that 30 is the singer’s most powerful, “raw,” “riskiest,” and “most personal and most vulnerable” record yet. But that doesn’t mean Adele didn’t use some of her old tricks.

Everything about 30 is new for Adele. She’s changed as a person, and she is much more confident. However, Adele will always reflect the past in her songs, and that’s what she does in “Hold On.”

Adele’s ‘Hold On’ is a harsh self-assessment

The lyrics in “Hold On” are brutally honest. The song is a very harsh self-assessment as well as a message of hope. It’s both light and dark.

In between choruses of “Just hold on,” inspiring herself to be strong and sending the message that time heals all wounds, Adele sings the darker verses: “Oh, what have I done yet again? Have I not learned anything? I don’t want to live in chaos. It’s like a ride that I want to get off. It’s hard to hold on to who I am. When I’m stumblin’ in the dark for a hand. I am so tired of battling with myself, with no chance to win.”

The song gets even more powerful with: “Sometimes loneliness is the only rest we get (Just hold on, just hold on). And the emptiness actually lets us forget (Just hold on, just hold on). Sometimes forgiveness is easiest in secret
(Just hold on, just hold on, just hold on, just hold on).”

In the end, Adele sings about being strong, and she tells herself to be patient. Love will come again. “Hold On” may seem like it features some of the singer’s darkest lyrics. However, underneath all that darkness, there’s hope. She’s talking about overcoming it all and finally finding the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s one of Adele’s most powerful songs, and it describes what was going through her head over the last couple of years.

‘Hold On’ explains why Adele took a five year hiatus

During her recent interview with Oprah, Adele explained that her friends were the inspiration for the uplifting chorus in “Hold On.” They’d always tell her to hold on after her divorce from Simon Konecki in 2019.

“I was just going through the motions and I wasn’t happy,” she told Vogue in November. “Neither of us did anything wrong. Neither of us hurt each other or anything like that. It was just: I want my son to see me really love, and be loved. It’s really important to me.” Turning 30 made Adele realize she wanted more in her life and kept asking herself, “Who am I? What do I want to do? What makes me truly happy? All those things.”

Then, anxiety hit. “I remember sitting out there with two of my friends… and I was like, ‘When will I stop feeling like this?’” she recalled. “And they were like, ‘In time.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, but how much time?’ And one of them cried and was just like, ‘I don’t know. It’s gonna be a ride.’ And it was.”

Adele continued to tell Oprah that she just needed a break from everything. “It was just exhausting trying to like keep going with it. It’s a process, the process of a divorce, the process of being a single parent, the process of not seeing your child every single day wasn’t really a plan that I had when I became a mum, the process of arriving for yourself every single day, turning up for yourself every single day, and still running a home, running a business. So many people know what I’m talking about. I feel like that as well. I juggled those things as well and I just felt like not doing it anymore.

“And also trying to move forward but like with intention. Not just trying to get out of it for no reason. Made my feet hurt, walking through all of that concrete.”

The ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ singer learned a lot about herself in the last decade

Before and during the making of 30, Adele learned a lot about herself. First, she realized that she was defensive. She told NPR that if someone had a tone or something, she’d go on a “bloody rampage” to “shut it down.” However, she learned that she couldn’t grow if she did that.

Secondly, she learned that it was OK to be alone sometimes. “Also over the last decade, obviously I’m with my kid a lot, but I’ve spent a lot of time on my own, [and] I realized that I didn’t like being on my own,” she said. “So I was filling these holes in my life with things that weren’t always good for me and that don’t work for me. So I worked on those things vigorously.”

When asked if she could be alone now and be OK, Adele said she loves it, and that’s where a line in “Hold On” comes from. “That’s what that lyric in ‘Hold On’ is: ‘Sometimes loneliness is the only risk we get.’ It’s how we stock up on supplies for ourselves, emotionally. And the world is just so noisy — and I’m not even saying that as being someone that’s well-known. Everyone just wants something or needs something all the time, and it’s exhausting. It’s often in the evenings, you know, when my son’s going to bed… but it feeds me. I like it.”

Adele has grown so much over her five-year hiatus, and it shows in 30. We’re so happy she’s grown and figured things out for herself that we’re not even the slightest bit angry, having not heard any new music from her in years. If Adele needs to take time off so she can carry on making music, we’ll accept it.

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