March 8th, 2014

Finding someone like you

I was listening to this song on my iPod yesterday. The video’s got almost 350 million pageviews on YouTube, which is an astounding number, although I do think it’s an excellent song.

One of the curious things (at least to me) about Adele is that her singing and songwriting is very traditional, and yet she’s highly popular in this age of obscene lyrics and artificially-enhanced voices and instruments. But her song is a timeless one—lost love, and how to recover from it. Will her efforts to find “someone like you” be successful? Her words in the chorus sound brave, but her voice tells us it’s all bravado:

That song lyric makes me think of this one from the 60s. It’s got over 9 million views, which isn’t bad for a relatively obscure oldie—we’re not talking “Light My Fire” here. But although this song is linked in my mind with the theme and title of Adele’s, it is also its direct opposite. The singer here is still in a relationship with the loved one, and her “I Know I’ll Never Find Another You” envisions the sad and unresolvable aftermath of an imaginary breakup rather than a real one (at least, any breakup that might happen is as-yet-unrealized).

Yes, we try to move on, and often we do. Sometimes we even move on to something better—someone far more suited to us, with whom we can be happier. Whether we can imagine that replacement at the time of great loneliness or the time of great togetherness is beside the point, although it doesn’t seem that way at the time. But the truth is that we never do find another you—each person, and each relationship, is wholly unique.

25 Responses to “Finding someone like you”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Well easy for you to say I suppose. I just note that every girlfriend and wife I’ve had has been exactly the same as the one before. It’s like you come home and find that your place has been broken into, and everything stolen and replaced with an exact replica.

  2. waitforit Says:

    Is it time?

    I think so, yes.

    But I don’t want to go on without you?

    You won’t just go on. There will be purpose.

    Without you?

    There will never be a without me.

  3. M J R Says:

    After all this time I finally have occcasion to relate the following.

    It was 1966 or so, when “I’ll Never Find Another You” by The Seekers was popular. [Side note: the very talented Judith Durham, Australia's sweetheart, sang lead, and she's still singing today.]

    A disc jockey remarked once after spinning the song, that that song is dedicated to all those Scrabble players who want badly to play the word “unctuous”.

    — —

    Boooooooooooooo!.

  4. Mac Says:

    I always liked The Seekers, and this song in particular. I find that these emotions touch me more now in my 60s than when I was middle-aged.

    Regarding Adele’s song: a couple of years ago I saw it used as the example in a news story called “Anatomy of A Tearjerker”–about the specific musical techniques used to touch the hearstrings. I decided to see if I was susceptible: results here. There’s a link to the analysis, which is quite interesting.

  5. Ira Says:

    Neo-neocon: Thanks for the reminder about the wonderful group The Seekers.

    Mac: You wrote,

    these emotions touch me more now in my 60s than when I was middle-aged.

    ARGHHHGCHGGG!!!! I’m beyond middle-aged now???

  6. turfmann Says:

    Adele to me is an “old soul” singing about life in a minor key.

    Her music is dark, reflective, black and white, and hauntingly beautiful.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Mac,

    “I find that these emotions touch me more now in my 60s than when I was middle-aged.”

    And even more than when I heard it in my 20′s.

    Thanks for the link, fascinating stuff.

  8. Waidmann Says:

    Neo,

    When you asked, “Will her efforts to find “someone like you” be successful?” my first thought was I’ll never find another you. Then I scrolled down, and saw the embedded video, and knew that it was “I’ll never find another you”. One of favorite songs of all time. I’ve been in love with Judith Durham for about 40 years now.

    Waidmann

  9. Harry the "Extremist" Says:

    Neo: “she’s highly popular in this age of obscene lyrics…”

    Kinda unlike how Alanis Morresette delt with the same subject isnt it?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPcyTyilmYY

  10. MissJean Says:

    I like some of Adele’s songs, but a friend gave me a CD of hers and I found myself laughing my butt off at her attempt at gospel-tinged blues. That works for Sister Re (Aretha Franklin) because she was an actual Gospel singer, her sisters and her learning to sing in the church where her daddy preached. But to hear it twice-removed from soul, as it were, was bizarre.

    The Seekers’ song is beautiful. I remember it from the AM station in my hometown. Also Glenn Yarbrough and Roger Whittaker were favorites.

    Harry, that is so funny. I admit I sneered at Alanis’ angry act when she released “Jagged Little Pill” because she was a sort of pop singer-princess and even won a Juno award for dance music. But I suppose no one outside Canada heard those dance-pop stylings.

  11. rickl Says:

    I wasn’t really moved much by Adele’s song, but Judith Durham’s voice blows me away.

    Interesting link, Mac.

    Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is another one that gets me every time. Mary Ramsey and 10,000 Maniacs do an excellent cover, but Sandy and Fairport’s version is the gold standard. I want that song played at my funeral.

    Here’s one you probably don’t know: Amy Torchia’s “Mother’s Journal”. I can’t find it on YouTube, but you can buy a used CD here. You won’t be sorry, at those prices. There are a number of good songs on that album, but “Mother’s Journal” is about the saddest song I’ve ever heard, and is also quite beautiful. Amy’s voice isn’t as strong as Adele’s or Judith’s, but she was a gifted songwriter. I think it’s a masterpiece.

  12. parker Says:

    “Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” is another one that gets me every time.”

    A masterpeice of a song, sung by one of my all time favorite singer/song writers. Here is another of my favorite female vocalists, Mary Black:

    http://tinyurl.com/n2es4ps

  13. Beverly Says:

    Attn. SPACE BUFFS:

    This is a delightful tour of the Space Station by the charming Commander Sunny Williams (hair a nimbus around her head).

    If you want to take a break from political madness, and float in zero-G* for a while, sit back and watch this.

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/ks8oqyh

  14. rickl Says:

    Sandy Denny wrote that song when she was 16. It is truly one of the all-time greatest songs ever written.

  15. parker Says:

    “And I am not alone while my love is near me, I know it will be so until it’s time to go. So come the storms of winter and then the birds in spring again, I do not fear the time.”

    Yes rickl,

    Sparse and exquisite lyrics combined with a poignant voice backed by a great band of musicians; including Richard Thompson. It doesn’t get any better. I’ve included in my will directions for my wake; the following songs will be played: Who Knows Where the Time Goes, In My Life, Into the Mystic, and Case of You because my sweet heart of 41 years (and counting) knows I could drink a case of her and still be on my feet.

  16. Richard Says:

    Reminds me of Paris, January 1970, she broke my heart, but someone else mended it, much for the better.

  17. RNB Says:

    Does it register that the singer in ‘Someone Like You’ is attempting to start things up again with a married man?
    ‘I heard that you’re settled down / That you found a girl and you’re married now.’

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    RNB:

    Yes, indeed. She’s a bit of a stalker, in addition. She does say, however, she just wants him to see her “and be reminded that for me, it isn’t over.” And then she says “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you.” So she denies she’s actively pursuing him for an actual relationship.

    Of course, the listener knows there’s a great deal of ambiguity there, and that in reality she probably wouldn’t say “no” if a relationship ensued.

  19. rickl Says:

    A couple of notes:

    I love the Alanis Morrisette song linked earlier, although she’s about as opposite from Amy Torchia as it’s possible to get. Let’s just say that I have eclectic musical tastes.

    I heard Amy & Jennie perform “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” live a couple of times. Amy kind of shied away from that song because she didn’t think she could do it justice.

    She was wrong about that.

  20. Harry the "Extremist" Says:

    Yes. I like Morrisette’s song as well. I kinda like the hard edge. After all, I am the “extremist”. I definitely is a contrast to Adell’s song.

  21. Tonawanda Says:

    Lovely songs. I am not a Christian, but (to me) they both echo true Christian sentiment, even with the romantic aspects of both.

    As a red-blooded heterosexual man of the American type, I will say I love Sarah McLachlan even if it calls my manliness into question. She sounds real to me.

    An ancient friend of mine used to say, if it’s sincere, it’s probably tacky. Even though I am not exactly sure what that means, I think it is true (and funny). So what, I am illogical.

    Anyway, Steyn has a post today which (in the midst of his point) cites Hanson, and both are exactly right, for reasons which have to do with the more fundamental significance of culture compared to politics.

    There is nothing wrong with treating a significant other (let’s say, a woman) as a specifically important human being, someone who might actually have a significance and an importance which categorically surpasses the purported concerns of government.

    For the sake of example, let’s say a man who consciously participates in a family, the psychological premise of which is stuff expressed by Adele and The Seekers and Sarah.

    It almost sounds realistic.

  22. Mac Says:

    Ira: “ARGHHHGCHGGG!!!! I’m beyond middle-aged now???”

    My arbitrary pronouncement is that you can be middle-aged till you’re 65, which I became last fall. After that…well, I hate to say the word. Victor Hugo once said that fifty is the youth of old age. I think now it’s 60. Or maybe 65.

    Geoffrey B: “And even more than when I heard it in my 20′s.”

    Yes, what I was trying to get at there and didn’t really articulate, is that those romantic emotions moved me greatly when I was young (naturally), more or less departed during roughly the 30-50 years, and returned strongly and unexpectedly in late middle/early old age. Possibly they’re stronger because there’s a strong element of nostalgia and melancholy: I know I’m never going to be young and in love again.

    Sandy Denny is great.

  23. Pat D Says:

    Couldn’t listen to it; 10 seconds and I was done. I can bear some pop from my youth, probably through familiarity, but nothing more.

    Ella Fitzgerald she ain’t.

  24. holmes Says:

    Contra Pat, Adele might be the greatest singer in the last 20 years. I would put her up against Whitney Houston.

  25. CGHill Says:

    Alanis is pretty much embarrassed by her early Canadian teen-pop, and has worked hard to suppress it. (I have both albums, and they’re not bad; what’s more, her whinier register is buffed to a semi-glossy sheen, which makes her more listenable if perhaps less interesting.)

    Now, as a palate cleanser, I’m going to go play Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” It’s about as country as Tommy James and the Shondells, and I don’t care.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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