|“Don't You Remember”|
|Song by Adele|
from the album 21
|Released||January 19, 2011|
|Recorded||Shangri La Studios (Malibu, California)|
|Writer(s)||Adele Adkins, Dan Wilson|
|21 track listing|
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|"Turning Tables"||"Set Fire to the Rain"|
"Don't You Remember" is the fourth track from Adele's second studio album, 21. It was written by Adele and Dan Wilson. It was produced by Rick Rubin, who produced several songs on the album. "Don't You Remember" was originally planned to be the first track on 21 rather than the fourth, replacing "Rolling in the Deep" as the first track on the album.
The song is viewed as a more country-style ballad, and was added to the album late when a more contemplative Adele (who had been struggling with her emotions toward her ex-boyfriend who inspired most of the songs on the album) became increasingly aware of how her bitterness towards the break-up negatively colored her perception of her former lover. In an interview, the singer stated, "I managed to step out of the bitter mode that I was in when I was writing the record and I suddenly got really ashamed and disgusted with the manner that I was portraying someone who was really important to me... and I felt really childish that I had made him out to be a complete twat." Adele added that it was "just trying to remember why you loved someone in the first place."
The song is an admission of her own shortcomings ("I know I have a fickle heart/And a bitterness/And a wandering eye/And a heaviness in my head"), as well as a plea to her ex-spouse to remember why he initially fell in love with her. She has also stated that the song is also about wondering if her ex-lover felt bad about why he dumped her, and she said that her feelings toward her lover were important, because she would begin to lose it if he did not text her back within 10 seconds. (She had laughed after saying this.) She has also stated that sometimes when she hears the song, it is like discovering music for the first time.
Adele later explained the song's meaning to The Sun, saying: "You know when you forget why you loved someone? I was just thinking about how my entire body would just shiver if my ex touched me to say hello. It's sad when you can't remember why you loved someone."
During the writing of the song, the Lady Antebellum song "Need You Now" was frequently played on radio and exposed Adele to more country music (originally being exposed to the genre by her tour bus driver). The song, which she later covered with Darius Rucker and included on the deluxe edition of 21, inspired her to write "Don't You Remember" in many ways. When she was interviewed about the song and the inspiration behind it, Adele said:
|“||It's got quite a country tinge to it. What gave me the courage to try to do that musically was 'Need You Now.' When I was in the studio in Malibu, this was the last song I wrote while I was recording, and 'Need You Now' was everywhere. You could not even change your radio station without it being played. You couldn't escape it and, luckily, I loved it! (laughs) Or it would have been awful! But the feeling the song gave me, I was trying to channel it in my own song. Unlike my first record, when I was writing how 'your life is going to suck without me and I'll be fiiiine', you know, it suddenly dawned on me that my ex was actually pretty incredible. I wanted to write a song about how it was such a shame that we fell out of love, and we can't even remember why we loved each other and why we fell out of love. It seemed like a perfect subject, like this emotion could be in a country song."||”|
"Don't You Remember" was heavily inspired by the country music Adele was exposed to on her first tour, especially Lady Antebellum. The song was written in the key of E♭ Major, according to Musicnotes.com.  It follows a basic chord progression of E♭ - A♭ - C - E♭ in the verses and E♭ - E♭ - A♭ - F - B♭ - E♭ - A♭ - E♭ - E♭ - A♭ - F - B♭ - E♭. It ends in a key change to B♭ Major for the bridge and final chorus.
The song received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with many criticizing the production but praising Adele's vocals. Melinda Newman of HitFix reacted positively to the song, complimenting the song's production as well as Adele's vocals: "Her voice wrenches every bit of pain out of the song, stopping just short of making it overwrought." Ian Wade of BBC Music wrote that "'Don’t You Remember' is a classically styled ballad, which feels like the sort of tune you’ve known all your life – many are certain to bawl along to it the next time their hearts are broken." Entertainment Weekly that the song demonstrated Adele's maturity in her vocals and writing. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times cited the song as a highlight from the album, and noted that Adele is a "forceful enough singer, so confident with her agony, that she can bend words into new shapes without losing their meaning," and noted that this particular skill was shown off on "Don't You Remember," which he called the best out of all of the Rick Rubin-produced tracks on the record. Caramanica finished his review of the album by referencing the track again, stating, "like a responsible repository of style history, Adele never truly unravels, tying the sentiment together with a bow: 'Baby, please remember me once more.'" Simon Harper of Clash wrote a positive review of the song as well, stating that the song "grieves in elegant acoustics."
James Reed of The Boston Globe wrote that the song was one of the album's weaker moments, but was still "glaring" due to Adele's vocals and sass. He went on to blame Rick Rubin for "obscuring" the song. Gary McGinley wrote that the song "adds strength to the argument that country is the white man's blues music" and called it a "potential single."
Margaret Wappler of the Los Angeles Times gave a less favorable review of this track. While her review of the album was positive, she felt that "Don't You Remember" sounds "overwrought in both construction and performance." Kitty Empire of The Guardian also wrote a mixed review of the song, calling the song a "let-down" in contrast to the album's lead single, "Rolling in the Deep." Greg Kot of The Chicago Tribune wrote that "the sheer conviction of Adele's voice" prevented "Don't You Remember" from "drowning in its own sap."
Adele performed this song on May 3 on Later... with Jools Holland, along with the tracks "Rolling in the Deep," "Set Fire to the Rain," and "Take It All." The song was also included in the setlist of Adele's second tour, Adele Live, in order to promote 21. A live performance of the song from the Adele Live tour was included on her live DVD / CD, Live at the Royal Albert Hall. A live acoustic version from her performance at Largo was included in the Target deluxe edition of 21, along with live acoustic versions of "Someone Like You" and "Turning Tables" and a live performance of "Need You Now" with Darius Rucker. A live performance of the song was also featured on the EP iTunes Festival: London 2011.
- Adele – songwriting, vocals
- Dan Wilson – songwriting
- Rick Rubin – producer
- David Hidalgo – banjo, accordion
- Pino Palladino – bass
- Chris Dave – drums
- Matt Sweeney – guitar
- Smokey Hornel – guitar
- James Poyser – piano
- Stephanie Bennett – harp
- Lenny Castro – percussion
- Greg Fidelman – recording
- Sara Lyn Killion – recording assistant
- David Campbell – string arrangement
- Andrew Scheps – mixer
- Phillip Broussard Jr. – mixing assistant
- Lindsay Chase – production coordinator