Stewart Creek Golf Course
Photo taken by the author
“Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
Oh, I’m so mad I’m getting old
It makes me reckless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
When we were young”
– “When We Were Young” by Adele
This song lyric is the crescendo of the popular hit song by Adele. It’s at this very moment where she just cuts loose from the song she’s been singing and goes for it in her full-on musical and vocal talent. You can tell that this lyrical material comes out of a very real and raw place deep within her; that is, coming from a place we can all relate to – one of openness, realness, and vulnerability. Adele is putting words to her hopes and her pain as she reflects back on this period of her life. These words are one of love and loss; yet more than that, it is the ability and the will to move on to better things, to another lover, so to speak. No wonder this all feels like a movie and a song, as we’ve all been there before. Therefore, we want to and insist on trying to hold onto the photograph of that prior one, him or her, in what appears as that perfect lighting we remember them in from those glory days.
It’s as if Adele is trying to capture a mental picture to hold onto forever in her mind’s eye. It’s an attempt for this person, this guy, to be remembered always in her heart and her memory. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and perhaps this is what Adele is trying to achieve for herself and for her own reassurance. In another of her famous songs, Someone Like You, Adele expresses this point both poetically and beautifully as “sometimes it last in love but sometimes it hurts instead.” That’s the thing about love, especially in the beginning stages, as one, or both people, never really know if it’s going to last or for how long. There is always this uncertainty about love. People change, as do their thoughts and feelings, in which case decisions follow close after that determine whether it’ll last or hurt.
Throughout this piece of the song Adele is looking back on a time in her life when she was younger, or rather, when she and this guy she’s referring to were younger. Younger in life, younger in age, and younger in love. The beginning point of a relationship can often be the climatic point between two people in love. This is because it’s a time full of hope, newness, and it seems to reflect near-perfection where two people who are madly in love can do no wrong towards the other. However, Adele moves on as she reflects back on those times from an older place in her life where it makes her feel restless, mad, and reckless. It’s as if she’s moved from a place of young love to longing for what once was as she is clearly yearning for those former days in this relationship.