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Meaning of the song ‘Easy On Me’ by ‘Adele’

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Released: 2021

In her track “Easy On Me”, Adele takes a contemplative ride down memory lane, offering an emotional vignette of personal growth, regrets, and maturation. The song is essentially a catharsis, a plea for understanding and forgiveness, specifically from her younger self who had to make tough decisions without the benefit of hindsight.

The song opens with the lyrics, “There ain’t no gold in this river / That I’ve been washing my hands in forever”. Here, Adele uses an extended metaphor of a fruitless river to symbolize her sense of futility and disappointment regarding certain decisions in her past. The line “I know there is hope in these waters / But I can’t bring myself to swim” further emphasizes the singer’s struggle with past decisions and lingering regrets.

The chorus, “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”, is a plea for compassion and understanding, not just from others, but for herself. The use of the term “baby” points towards her younger self, calling for leniency in judging the past actions of an individual who was inexperienced and perhaps impulsive.

The second verse, “There ain’t no room for our things to change / When we are both so deeply stuck in our ways” highlights the inevitable impact of growth and change, particularly within relationships. Adele’s refrain again of “Go easy on me, baby…” underscores her acceptance and realization of the inevitability of change and the resignation that accompanies it.

The final verse, “I had good intentions / And the highest hopes / But I know right nowㅤ / It probably doesn’t even show” illustrates the gap between intentions and outcomes. Adele admits that despite her best intentions, the reality of her life might not reflect that, thus, she beseeches for understanding with another round of the chorus.

Ultimately, “Easy On Me” is a poignant exploration of self-discovery, personal growth, and forgiveness. It’s Adele’s heartfelt appeal to her younger self, asking for a moment of solace and forgiveness while underlining the universal human experience of dealing with the past.

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