JANET STREET-PORTER: I can't stand the new Adele

JANET STREET-PORTER: I used to adore the old Adele and I still love her music but I can’t stand the way she’s turned into an over-packaged, self-important musical Meghan Markle

I love Adele’s voice. Her live performances are electrifying. But please, please, please spare me any more of her talking.

The fake misery, the gushing tears on tap every hour and the vacuousness of her bright shiny life in sunny California. Hiking, the gym, blah blah blah.

The only place in the world where the position of Saturn in the planetary system might be cited as the reason why this thirty something might be feeling down (According to Oprah).

In the final countdown to Adele’s much-anticipated fourth album, the tidal wave of waffle and wallow shows no sign of receding – Adele is everywhere, telling us about the ‘struggles’ that fired her song writing; about the fact she’s got a framed bit of Celine Dion’s chewing gum in her house and wicker chairs in her garden. 

Blah blah blah. Anything to shift product.

I love Adele’s voice. Her live performances are electrifying. But please, please, please spare me any more of her talking, writes JANET STREET-PORTER. Above: Adele during her interview with Oprah Winfrey

In the process, we’ve had all the details about her ‘journey’ from a rich woman with a devoted and nice husband to even wealthier woman ‘traumatised’ by a divorce that she appears to have instigated.

A seven-year relationship, a baby son, and then a single year of marriage before she issued a press release at Easter in 2019 announcing a divorce.

And guess what? Far from expressing sadness at this turn of events, some hard core Adele fans were thrilled, because they correctly realised that their heroine would be able to mine her new status – single mother bringing up a young son – when composing her next album. 

She had a new theme – the tragedy of divorce.

Adele has earned a fortune from portraying herself as an unhappy misery. 

In her teens and twenties, Adele was adorable – brash, loud, madly enthusiastic and completely unprepared for all the awards she won for albums bluntly charting her bad relationships and disappointments in love.

Adele wore her heart on her sleeve, and that’s why her lyrics chronicling insecurity and loss were relatable to so many people.

But now she’s one of the most famous people in the world with a multi-million-pound fortune isn’t it time to button up, to let the songs speak for themselves, to spare us the back story, the intimate details about a failed marriage- especially when we are only hearing one side of the story?

In the final countdown to Adele’s much-anticipated fourth album, the tidal wave of waffle and wallow shows no sign of receding – Adele is everywhere

At the end of the day, aren’t there millions of people – women in particular – who are living in real poverty, oppressed, undervalued, abused and ignored?

Aren’t Adele’s latest set of anxieties- about refashioning her life post-divorce and explaining herself to her son- a little trite in the global scheme of pressing feminist issues?

Originally this unaffected working class London girl won our hearts when she appeared on Saturday Night Live back in 2008, singing Chasing Pavements. 

That episode received the highest ratings in fourteen years and her album 19 shot to the top of the charts. 

Back then, Adele wore a simple smock dress with a black cardigan covering her arms, her hair messily pulled up in a simple do.

Now, she’s kitted out for performances like a Marvel comic warrior with huge hair, overstated makeup and couture frocks encasing her like a coat of armour. 

She’s worked hard and lost 100 pounds in weight, claiming her mental strength has become more resilient too.

Previously Adele was never a style maven (which was part of her charm), preferring trackie bottoms and tee shirts for comfort off stage but now a team packages her for every occasion.

She’s a brand and the message they want to portray is – Strong Powerful Woman. Hence the white trouser suit for Oprah. 

But these experts can mess up – the outfit she wore to a recent NBA game with her new beau, wealthy sports agent Rich Paul, was ludicrous.

The more Adele says, the greater the realisation for the world that she’s deeply shallow, says JANET STREET-PORTER (pictured)

Double denim has only recently been deemed acceptable, but triple leather remains a total No-No. 

Apart from being incredibly sweaty and confining, leather trousers, jacket and logo embellished trench coat were tacky and tasteless, screaming conspicuous consumption.

Adele might have been sporting £10,000 worth of clothing, but she looked like an ad for Sofa World.

Fashion screw-ups aside, my main beef with Adele is that the more she gushes, the less I love her.

I grew up adoring great female jazz and blues singers like Betty Carter, Nina Simone and Annie Ross. 

I didn’t need to know what colour their bath taps were, what they ate for breakfast and whether they suffered from anxiety every time they slept alone.

Their songs did all the talking – every note revealing a thousand emotions from loss to longing.

In the modern world, a successful female singer has to be marketed like a bar of soap, as if fans are so dumb they will not buy music without being offered nuggets about the legend that created it. 

Sadly, the more Adele says, the greater the realisation for the world that she’s deeply shallow.

Bob Dylan has remained one of the most enigmatic and charismatic performers of the last 100 years because he reveals so little about himself. 

In his new book The Lyrics, Paul McCartney offers new versions of how his greatest songs were written, so an element of mystery remains.

But Adele is a millennial, which means that everything is part of her journey. Tweeting after the Oprah show aired, she gushed: ‘The most beautiful venue I’ve ever played. 

‘Thank you to everyone who made it possible. To Oprah for allowing me to tell my truth lovingly in a safe space. 

‘The whole thing was pretty overwhelming, I’ve seen it twice and cried my eyes out both times.’

Classic Adele; gushing and crying yet again. But what is ‘my truth’ and why does it have to be told ‘in a safe space’.

Can you any longer tell the difference between Meghan Markle and Adele Adkins? Both had difficult relationships with their fathers and worship their mothers. 

Both felt that Oprah was the best person to share their ‘truths’ with.

In other words to offer the world a shiny version of what they want us to believe, slickly edited and unchallenged.

Adele has even mined her memories of her father- who left home when she was three and died earlier this year from bowel cancer, revealing that they were ‘reconciled’ before the end, and that she played him her new album via Zoom.

She has spoken of her ‘great’ relationship with her ex-husband Simon, who lives across the street in Lose Angeles, and who co-parents their son, 9 year old Angelo. But we’ve yet to hear from Simon.

Do we need to know any of this in order to love her music? Less is more when it comes to Adele.

By the way, there’s another special on ITV this weekend, recorded in front of adoring celebrity audience at the London Palladium. 

I think I might skip it and spend an evening with my albums of the old Adele.

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