Last week, British superstar Adele announced she and husband Simon Konecki have been divorcing after seven years collectively — and nearly straight away, the memes started to roll in. On social media, lovers spoke back to the information with a sequence of jokes expressing their combined reactions to the news: essentially, they have been sad for Adele and satisfied with the ‘inevitable’ smash-up album. Then information shops picked up at the spin and ran headlines like MTV’s “Adele Has Split From Her Husband So Cue An Album Of Fantastic Heartbreak Songs.”
The article’s body copy becomes much extra neutrally toned and sympathetic, with the only reference to new music being a single line announcing “we’re frankly now not prepared” for the “devastating mega-ballad” to return. They play it safe, knowing the distinction between memes and reporting, but the headline plays with the jokes online. To place it bluntly, it’s gross — not for its problem, which, find it irresistible or now not, is news, but for the manner the headline generates clicks through turning pain into a punchline.
And we get the attraction: Adele has a body of work intertwined with heartbreak, and the joke practically writes itself. She’s even in on it, to a degree. Back in 2011, Adele advised the United Kingdom’s Telegraph, “When I’m glad, I ain’t writing songs, I’m out laughing. If I ever get married, it’ll be ‘Darling, I need a divorce, it’s been three years, I’ve were given a report to write!’”
Still, there’s something in the immediacy of the flip to jokes — the viral proliferation of them, how stores reported the information with a comic story — which speaks to our feeling of ownership over woman pop stars’ romantic lives, as their real pain becomes fodder for memes. It goes without announcing that most artists and musicians pull from their reviews and pour them into their artwork.
Certainly, that’s even the case with hyper-produced, synthetic pop — nicely, the first-rate of it, as a minimum. Take Kelly Clarkson’s damage ‘Since U Been Gone, the music she surely hates and in no way wanted to launch (you could discover the entire story in John Seabrook’s ebook The Song Machine). Even with that during thoughts, ‘Since U Been Gone’ still, to apply a technical term, slaps: whether Clarkson likes it, the tune’s ‘success-is-the-pleasant-revenge’ emblem of empowerment pop works perfectly along with her voice and character. Whether or not it’s written with the aid of Clarkson or ‘real,’ there’s a nugget of emotional ‘fact’ inside the performance. And given what we recognize of Adele as an artist, how each 19 and 21 were written inside the wake of horrible destroy-ups, we know that she can carry out heartbreak well, especially when she’s stimulated using actual-existence reports.