‘Change’ seems to have been the buzzword of 2020, and it’s often felt difficult to find an aspect of life that hasn’t been altered in some shape or fashion as a result of…well…you know.
Which is what makes this new project from UK Country duo, Adele & Andy, so refreshing. Throughout this pandemic, numerous artists have documented the changing times and the struggles that have come with them. But what’s inspiring about Adele & Andy’s new EP, Where I Belong, is that it shows us how to find peace amongst these moments of change.
There’s a subtlety in these songs, which is evident from the fact that each one seems to reveal a new layer of meaning the more you listen to it. Epitomising this is ‘No More Goodbyes’, which at first sounds like a lovestruck ode to new romance, before delivering the heartbreaking final line of the chorus - ‘But for now, it’s got to be goodbye’. Then after a few more listens, you realise that this isn’t a story of lost love, it’s one of hope and excitement for a future together.
It’s hard to find a more appropriate message on a Valentine’s Day that many couples are having to spend apart. This song hits an emphatic note of optimism for a time where there will be ‘No More Goodbyes’.
‘Misty Eyes’ is the keystone of the EP, with an ear-worm of a hook that you’ll find yourself humming along to long after the song ends. Something that has unravelled many a musical partnership is one artist trying to overshadow the other, but what makes Adele & Andy such a formidable pairing is the way their two styles complement each other perfectly.
Adele’s alluring vocals glide across Andy’s electrifying bed of guitar riffs, gelling together to give each song a unique dynamic. The hidden gem of this project is the mysterious ‘Echoes of the Forest’, which is inspired by the novel, ‘Call of the Wild’. It tells the tale of a dog who is stolen away from his idyllic life, and has to overcome adversity and summon all his strength in order to survive. He succeeds and conquers everything in his way, but once he is retired and allowed to return to his original home, he misses the adventure of the forest. The metaphor behind ‘Echoes of the Forest’ is that we sometimes have to step outside our comfort zone, which can of course be scary in the moment. But ultimately, these challenges are often opportunities for growth, and can open us up to fulfilling experiences that we would never previously have gotten the chance to have.
The EP ends on the title track, ‘Where I Belong’, which epitomises how this project captures the mood of the times, without ever being too on-the-nose. It once again tackles the difficulty of dealing with change, but resolves to stop fighting it, and to embrace who we are becoming, even if it is a far cry from who we once were.
In the current climate, it’s easy to feel as though our lives have been put on pause, and to look expectantly towards a time when we can all return to ‘normal’. But even though this may not be the intention, listening to this project reminds us that good things can come from change. If we’re too keen to live in the future, then we’ll miss the opportunity to grow through our current experiences. Songs like ‘Misty Eyes’ and ‘Where I Belong’ are about accepting bad experiences from the past and learning from these, in order to find happiness in a current relationship. Even on ‘No More Goodbyes’, which is all about looking forward, there is still a sense of acceptance about the here and now. More generally, these songs carry a message of embracing the process, whether this is with regards to a relationship, mental health, or lockdown.
As David writes in his ‘Introduction to Me’ section at the beginning of this magazine, living with mental health is a journey, and it’s not necessarily about finding a destination or an end to this journey. It’s about learning from the process and equipping ourselves ‘for when the ride isn’t so comfy’.
So this Valentine’s Day, whether you’re missing your loved one, getting over a break-up, or celebrating together, one thing’s for certain - Adele & Andy have your soundtrack covered.
Adele & Andy’s new EP, ’Where I Belong’, is out on all platforms on Friday 26th February, and is available to Pre-Order and Pre-Save now.