Adele Songs Annotated As Though She Is A Ghost

Many of Adele’s songs make more sense to me if I imagine that she is a sad or vengeful ghost.

HELLO

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

The nature of ghosts is that they are trapped in their injury, unable to heal the wounds they experienced in life.

Hello, can you hear me

He cannot; ghosts are unable to communicate with the living.

I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be

“California” here represents the ghost’s delusion of happiness; in death, she has constructed an imaginary afterlife that resembles the life she always wanted.

When we were younger and free
 I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet

The ghost is trapped by her pain, unable to remember the entirety of her life.

There’s such a difference between us
 And a million miles

“a million miles” here represents the difference between life and death.

Hello from the other side

The “other side” of the boundary between the living and the dead.

I must have called a thousand times
To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home

The ghost has attempted to contact her former lover, but because she is immaterial she is unable to, and perceives this failure as the lover not being home.

Hello from the outside

“outside” of time and space as she is no longer living.

At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

The ghost is unable to find closure for her guilt, because her lover is unable to perceive her apologies.

Hello, how are you?
 It’s so typical of me to talk about myself I’m sorry
 I hope that you’re well
 Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened

The ghost perceives that the lover is trapped in the place where they grew up, but it is actually the ghost who is trapped, by her guilt and obsession.

It’s no secret that the both of us
 Are running out of time

Here the ghost is mistaken — the lover is running out of time due to the imminence of death, but the ghost only perceives that she is running out of time because she does not realize she is dead.

SOMEBODY LIKE YOU

I heard that you’re settled down
 That you found a girl and you’re married now.
 I heard that your dreams came true.
 Guess she gave you things I didn’t give to you.

The ghost, having passed on, is resentful of the normal life that her former lover is able to enjoy.

Old friend, why are you so shy?
 Ain’t like you to hold back or hide from the light.

Unable to perceive her own death, the ghost misunderstands her inability to communicate with her lover as their desire not to speak.

I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
 But I couldn’t stay away, I couldn’t fight it.
 I had hoped you’d see my face and that you’d be reminded
 That for me it isn’t over.

The ghost is drawn by her own obsession and so “uninvited”; her lover is unable to see her face though, because she is dead and thus immaterial.

Never mind, I’ll find someone like you
 I wish nothing but the best for you too

The ghost is delusional with grief, and believes she will be able to replicate her once-happy relationship; she says she wishes nothing but the best, but is incapable of releasing her grief.

Don’t forget me, I beg
 I’ll remember you said,
 “Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead,
 Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead”

In this case, the reason it didn’t last is because she died, and is now a ghost.

You know how the time flies
 Only yesterday was the time of our lives
 We were born and raised
 In a summer haze
 Bound by the surprise of our glory days

“Time flies” because time does not exist to a ghost, for her the experience of her most pivotal and profound moments are most prominent in her mind and seem to have happened only yesterday.

Nothing compares
 No worries or cares
 Regrets and mistakes
 They are memories made.
 Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?

The ghost claims that she has no worries or cares; indeed, ordinary worries and cares are gone now that she is dead, but her regrets and memories remain because they are essential to the composition of her psyche now.

ROLLING IN THE DEEP

here’s a fire starting in my heart
 Reaching a fever pitch, and it’s bringing me out the dark

The ghost, trapped in darkness after her death, is woken by the burning desire for vengeance in her heart.

Finally, I can see you crystal clear
 Go ahead and sell me out, and I’ll lay your ship bare

Unbound by material flesh, the ghost is finally able to perceive the nature of her lover clearly.

See how I’ll leave with every piece of you
 Don’t underestimate the things that I will do

The dead are capable of new forms of revenge, otherwise inconceivable to the living.

There’s a fire starting in my heart
 Reaching a fever pitch, and it’s bringing me out the dark

The fire of revenge draws the ghost out of “the dark”.

The scars of your love remind me of us
 They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
 The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
 I can’t help feeling

Vengeful specters are fundamentally bound by the spiritual wounds they received in life, hence the ghost defines herself primarily by the scars of love she received.

(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
We could have had it all
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
It all, it all, it all
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

The ghost is “rolling in the deep”, like the spirits roiling in Tartarus, the deepest level of the underworld. After she enacts her revenge, her lover will be consigned there as well.

Baby, I have no story to be told
 But I’ve heard one on you
 Now I’m gonna make your head burn
 Think of me in the depths of your despair
 Make a home down there
 As mine sure won’t be shared

Now that her life has ended, the ghost no longer has a “story”, and experiences only a desire to be remembered by her former lover as they suffer for their crimes.

You had my heart inside of your hand
 But you played it with a beating

The foundation for the ghost’s desire for revenge is a romantic betrayal.

Throw your soul through every open door
 Count your blessings to find what you look for
 Turn my sorrow into treasured gold
 You’ll pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow

The ghost is finally aware of how her lover exploited her pain for material wealth, and intends on this basis to extract a terrible revenge.