When we think of Adele, we think of soaring ballads, impassioned songs about love, loss and life — which the British singer’s fourth studio album, 30, delivers on in abundance. The LP runs the gamut, centering itself on her painful divorce, her failings as a parent, and the experience of losing herself in motherhood. All things which many people can relate to.
To wit, the singer’s recent “One Night Only” special on CBS was, according to Digital Music News, viewed by more than 10 million people (putting it on par with The Oscars and edging out the Grammys for the most-watched special on live TV), the album’s first single, “Easy On Me,” broke Spotify’s record for most streams in a day, and there has been no shortage of breathless coverage about Adele’s return after six years of relative quiet (Bantu knot scandal not withstanding).
30 is a sprawling, operatic affair. Heartache and personal failings are its core, with sadness underpinning its nearly hour long run time. However, arguably the best song on the record is actually the one on which the album’s heaviness seems to let up for a brief moment — “Can I Get It.”
Produced by Shellback and Max Martin, who at this point have the formula for hit records down to a science, “Can I Get It” is a straightforward pop song. Built around a fairly simple 90s-style guitar melody, the track builds and builds and builds even more before exploding on the chorus:
So can I get it right now?
Can I get it right now? (Can I get it here?)
Can I get it right now?
Can I get it right now?
Let me, let me just come and get it
Taken on their own, the lyrics seem slight and inconsequential. The song, however, is rooted in Adele’s experience dating after her divorce, where she noticed everyone she met was only interested in casual sex. “I’m not doing that,” she told Zane Lowe. “I’ve left my marriage to go forward, not to fucking go backwards.”
And so what she is actually beckoning for on “Can I Get It” is the complete opposite of a hook-up. Adele, you see, wants something real. Sandwiched right at the album’s halfway mark, it’s this beautiful change of pace that bookends the LP’s beginning portion — starting with the dissolution of the marriage — and its second half, exploring her journey into her new life, seeking new love, and ultimately self-acceptance.
On its surface, the song doesn’t appear as deep or introspective as much of 30. It will not move you to tears as Adele sinks into herself belting out its lyrics. In fact, “Can I Get It” is more line in with “Rolling In The Deep” and “Set Fire to the Rain.” It is a welcome return to the kind of songs she was known for before everything got so heavy, and before things fell apart.