In an interview with NPR, Adele explains that the real River Lea is mostly disgusting: "My experience of it was, whenever I was in our version of the projects, the river ran through it — so it ran through all my aunties' houses, stuff like that . . . But the idea of the song is that, especially since I've become a parent, let alone writing this record, I'm dealing with myself for the first time. And I have a lot of bad habits. And rather than admitting that I have bad traits in my actual character, I blame it on where I'm from."