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I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Send My Love (to Your New Lover)" by Adele mean?

What does "Send My Love (to Your New Lover)" by Adele mean?

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Adele 25 Album Cover
Adele 25 Album Cover

SONG MEANING: In “Send My Love (to Your New Lover),” Adele brushes her hands of a relationship with a man who said he would marry her but can't commit.

Adele’s 25 is out as of last Friday, and it’s awesome. Her voice is so powerful, and the world agrees. According to Billboard.com, iTunes sold almost a million records on the first day alone. I looked up the stats, and Taylor Swift only ever sold as many as 1,047,000 in the first week of a release. 

Essentially, Adele is popular—really popular. Probably more popular than anyone could have predicted. But taking that into consideration, the style of “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” is a weird move on her part. So far, much of the music on 25 has followed closely from that on 21, but “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” is far more lilting, and the beat has more energy than most Adele songs which rely heavily on her voice rather than on the music's rhythm to convey a feeling. Of course, the title’s pretty sarcastic, so it makes sense that a song about such a serious topic could be a little more “fun” sounding. Concerning the sound, Adele tells a journalist from www.i-d.vice.com, “It's a bit of fun, innit? You ain't got to be dark all the time.”

Adele - When We Were Young
Adele - When We Were Young

"Send My Love (to Your New Lover)" Lyrics Meaning

Adele begins the song by forecasting the musical style of the song. She says to her guitar player, “Just the guitar / Okay, cool.” And, at first, the guitar is the only melodic instrument playing—the drums provide a funky beat to forecast the attitude of the song: somewhat sassy, authoritative, and somewhat dismissive.

In the First Verse, Adele explains the nature of her relationship with the man who “Send My Love” is about. She sings, “This was all you, none of it me”: the problems in the relationship are his fault—not hers—and she explains why. He “put [his] hands on, on [her] body and told [her]” that he was “ready / For the big one, for the big jump.” When people talk about relationships, the “big one” is usually a reference to marriage, a lifelong commitment and the biggest one in the course of a relationship.

He told her that she would be his “last love everlasting,” and she emphasizes the fact that it was he who told her that. She hasn’t been pushing the relationship, whether or not she was happy about his promise to commit. Based on the way this verse is phrased, she seems to be suggesting that he didn’t follow through on his commitment and that he was more interested in sex with her, thus the “hands on . . . my body” line.

In the Pre-chorus, after she’s explained his wrongdoing in the first verse, she says, “I’m giving you up.” She’s not bitter, but she’s no longer interested in waiting for him. She’s “forgiven it all” and sings that he’s “set me free.” His lack of commitment has been her gain, and now she doesn’t feel she owes him something the way she might have when he spoke of marriage at first.

In the Chorus, Adele wishes him and his next lover the best. She sings, “Send my love to your new lover,” as a way of showing that she wishes him no ill will, though perhaps it may be a “wink and nod” to the struggles that the new girl may have to face. She tells the man to “Treat her better” and says that as far as he and she go, “We gotta let go of all of our ghosts / We both know we ain’t kids no more.” She’s ready to move on and to act like an adult. She’s less likely to believe loving sentiments from people like him, and she better understands how “love” can go wrong. She wants him to understand his error, to fix it, and to let go of his past with her.

Verse Two touches more on their differences and better describes how he held her back: “I was too strong. You were trembling / You couldn’t handle the hot heat rising.” While he was afraid to commit or to take the relationship further, Adele sings that she was “so rising,” ready to be serious. While she was “running,” he was “walking,” “couldn’t keep up,” and was “falling down.” Adele took a more serious approach to life and commitment, while he was too afraid to try hard and that led to his mistreating her and their relationship. She came on strong, and the only way out for him was down or “the only way down,” which here refers to “falling.”

In the Bridge, she sings, “If you’re ready, if you’re ready / If you’re ready, I am ready.” She’s being considerate and leaving bitterness behind. She wants to know if he is going to let the past fade away and if they can move on to other things, forgetting their relationship.

She repeats similar words in the Outro but melds them together with her “Send my love to your new lover” and “treat her better.” The point of “Send My Love (to Your New Lover) is that Adele wants to move on, and she wants to encourage the man in the relationship to move on as well. They were kids, but now they’re adults, and it’s time to “let go of all our ghosts” and for whatever new thing will come in their adult lives.

 

Clifford Stumme has his master’s in English literature and is a blogger and a college instructor/desk-watcher at Liberty University. He likes juggling and reading/writing, and he is married to the wonderful and beautiful Wife April. He thinks pop music is awesome. Seriously awesome.

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