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“I'll Be Waiting”
Adele21.jpg
Song by Adele
from the album 21
Released January 19, 2011
Recorded Eastcote Studios (London)
Genre Soul, pop
Length 4:01
Label XL Recordings
Writer(s) Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth
Producer(s) Paul Epworth
21 track listing
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"Take It All" "One and Only"
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“I’ll Be Waiting” is the eighth track off of Adele’s second studio album, 21. The song was co-written and produced by Paul Epworth. In contrast to the majority of the album, “I’ll Be Waiting” marks a departure from 21’s recurring themes of anger, loneliness and desolation both lyrically and sonically, instead focusing on the rekindling of a lost love and the admittance of one’s own faults.

While not released as a single, “I’ll Be Waiting” received a surge in radio airplay during the summer of 2012 as a result of 21’s enduring popularity. Consequently, it charted at number 29 on the US Triple A chart.

Background and composition[]

“I’ll Be Waiting” is the third offering from 21 to be co-written by Adele and Paul Epworth, and the second to be produced by Epworth; he also co-wrote “He Won’t Go” and “Rolling in the Deep,” with production credits on the latter. All three collaborations were written within a week.[1] Musically, the song was heavily influenced by Memphis soul[1], with Adele citing Dusty Springfield specifically.[2] Epworth sought inspiration from the production of J Dilla for the song’s instrumentation.[1] Epworth went on to win Producer of the Year, Non-Classical at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards for his work on “I’ll Be Waiting” and “Rolling in the Deep.”[3]

The song shifts away from the themes of heartbreak explored in the majority of the tracks on 21, instead opting to focus on the singer's resilience and the rekindling of a lost love. Adele has referred to this song as “the soundtrack of my life,” opining that it makes her imagine walking down the street full of joy and that the cheerful tone of the song made her and Epworth “excited” to add new parts to it.[4] She further described it as “fun” and compared it to the album's ninth track, “One and Only,” in that it was more optimistic than the majority of the album.[5] 

In an interview with Spin magazine, Adele explained that, in the months following her breakup with her ex-boyfriend, she had begun to reconsider and reexamine her own flaws:

I started to realize I’m not as great as I thought as a girlfriend. I felt quite bad about writing a record that's all ‘fuck you.’[6]

According to the song’s sheet music, “I’ll Be Waiting” was written in the key of D Major.[7]

Release[]

Initially, “I’ll Be Waiting” did not appear on the original track listing for 21 that leaked online; “Set Fire to the Rain,” “He Won’t Go” and “Lovesong” were also absent from this track listing.[8] However, all four tracks ultimately replaced the titles included on the leaked track listing prior to the album’s release.

While not officially released as a single, “I’ll Be Waiting” began receiving unsolicited radio airplay in the United States during the summer of 2012, as did the album’s European single “Turning Tables,” in response to its parent album’s enduring popularity and the high demand for new Adele music. “I’ll Be Waiting” became popular on Triple A radio stations in particular, eventually charting at number 29 on the US Triple A chart.[9]

In spite of this, Lisa Sonkin, vice president of triple A and public radio promotion for Columbia Records, issued a statement disputing reports that it would be released as a single:

Programmers have asked if we’re going to release another single from, 21, but we don’t want to burn Adele out. We want them to be salivating for the next album. So, we decided not to send out promo copies and promote ‘Waiting’ all-out. But, we’re certainly not discouraging airplay.[10]

Live performances[]

“I’ll Be Waiting” was included in the setlist of the Adele Live tour. Adele’s performance of the song at the Royal Albert Hall was included on the Live at the Royal Albert Hall CD/DVD set.

It was omitted from the setlist during the majority of the Adele Live 2016 tour, although she frequently rehearsed it. Eventually, “I’ll Be Waiting” reappeared during Adele’s headlining performance at the Glastonbury Festival in June 2016 and was subsequently added to her tour setlist for several dates in Australia, as well as the tour’s finale at Wembley Stadium.

Credits[]

Personnel[11]

  • Adele – songwriting, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Paul Epworth – songwriting, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, percussion, backing vocals
  • Ben Thomas – acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Leo Taylor – drums
  • Neil Cowley – piano
  • Ray Carless – tenor saxophone
  • Noel Langley – trumpet
  • Harry Brown – trombone, horn
  • Mark Rankin – engineer
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixer
  • Dan Parry – mixing assistant

Lyrics[]

Hold me closer one more time,
Say that you love me in your last goodbye,
Please forgive me for my sins,
Yes, I swam dirty waters,
But you pushed me in,

I’ve seen your face under every sky,
Over every border and on every line,
You know my heart more than I do,
We were the greatest, me and you,

But we had time against us,
And miles between us,
The heavens cried,
I know I left you speechless,
But now the sky has cleared and it’s blue,
And I see my future in you,

I’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll do everything different,
I’ll be better to you,

I’ll be waiting for you when you're ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll be somebody different,
I’ll be better to you,

Let me stay here for just one more night,
Build your world around me,
And pull me to the light,
So I can tell you that I was wrong,
I was a child then, but now I’m willing to learn,

But we had time against us,
And miles between us,
The heavens cried, I know I left you speechless,
But now the sky has cleared and it’s blue,
And I see my future in you,

I’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll do everything different,
I’ll be better to you,

I’ll be waiting for you when you're ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll be somebody different,
I’ll be better to you,

Time against us,
Miles between us,
Heavens cried,
I know I left you speechless,

Time against us,
Miles between us,
Heavens cried,
I know I left you speechless,

I know I left you speechless,
I’ll be waiting,

I’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll do everything different,
I’ll be better to you,

I’ll be waiting for you when you're ready to love me again,
I put my hands up,
I’ll be somebody different,
I’ll be better to you.

References[]

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