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“To Be Loved”
30 Cover.jpg
Song by Adele
from the album 30
Released November 19, 2021
Length 6:43
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Adele Adkins, Tobias Jesso Jr.
30 track listing
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“To Be Loved” is a song by British singer-songwriter Adele, taken from her fourth studio album, 30. The song was written by Adele with Tobias Jesso Jr.[1] and serves as the eleventh track on the album. Its title was confirmed on November 1, 2021, when the album’s track listing was revealed online.[2] On November 17, two days before the release of the album, Adele uploaded a video of herself singing the song to her social media accounts.[3]

Background and composition[]

“To Be Loved” was co-written by Adele and Tobias Jesso Jr., who previously worked with Adele on “When We Were Young” and “Lay Me Down” from her third studio album, 25. Lyrically, the song is a pensive reflection on Adele’s decision to divorce Simon Konecki and her hopes to move forward after it.

In an interview with NPR, Adele explained that “To Be Loved” — particularly the lyric “let it be known that I tried” — was prompted by media speculation that she didn’t care enough to make her marriage work. “There were so many stories that were written about why we broke up, our history, a sort of timeline of events that led up to it — I didn’t say anything,” she recounted. “I rarely respond to tabloid rumors and stuff like that about me. But it was more of me just being like, ‘Actually, this is my story, and this is how I felt, and this is how extreme it was.’ So that’s what that lyric is. That is really me being like, ‘They said this is what actually happened, like what everyone else says, you weren’t there. You don’t even know us.’ ”[4]

According to Adele, “To Be Loved” was the hardest song to write or sing for the album. “When I was writing and doing my vocals for it, I imagined my son being like, 30 or something, and being in the crowd and hearing my story in a different way than he does at this age, and it just turns me into a bloody wreck,” she said.[5] Furthermore, she told Zane Lowe she probably will never perform it live because of how emotional it makes her to listen to or sing.[6]

Critical reception[]

Upon release, critics lauded “To Be Loved” as one of Adele’s best vocal performances, while also commending Jesso Jr. for his minimalistic production.[7][8] Gio Santiago of Pitchfork named it “Best New Track,” writing, “Even by Adele standards, the degree of vulnerability on ‘To Be Loved,’ the penultimate track of her new album 30, is unmatched.”[9] Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz called “To Be Loved” “the most masterful moment of 30” and listed it at #1 on his ranking of the album’s tracks.[10] “To Be Loved” was also highlighted in NPR’s compilation of essential new music releases, #NowPlaying, in which writer Cat Sposato opined that the song served as a sister track to the album’s lead single, “Easy On Me,” concurring that it is Adele at her best.[11]

The New York Times called it a “musical tour de force,”[12] while Rolling Stone hailed it as a “vocal fireworks display.”[13] Ragan Clark wrote for the Associated Press that “its sparse production serves Adele beautifully.”[14] The Los Angeles Times added that, “It’s almost frightening, this song, in its intensity: A slow, stark, 6 1/2-minute voice-and-piano ballad about learning to let go of trauma, ‘To Be Loved’ [...] climaxes with what can only be described as a howl of pain, Adele’s famous God-given instrument so volcanic that it’s hard to believe everybody in Los Angeles didn’t stop on the day she recorded it and wonder what they just heard.”[15] i-D Magazine favorably compared “To Be Loved” to the work of Céline Dion, one of Adele’s biggest musical influences.[16]

Lyrics[]

I built a house for a love to grow
I was so young that it was hard to know
I'm as lost now as I was back then
Always make a mess of everything
It’s about time that I face myself
All I do is bleed into someone else
Painting walls with all my secret tears
Filling rooms with all my hopes and fears

But oh my, oh my
I’ll never learn if I never leap
I’ll always yearn if I never speak

To be loved and love at the highest count
Means to lose all the things I can’t live without
Let it be known that I will choose to lose
It’s a sacrifice, but I can’t live a lie
Let it be known, let it be known that I tried

I’m so afraid, but I’m open wide
I’ll be the one to catch myself this time
Trying to learn to lean into it all
Ain’t it funny how the mighty fall?
Looking back I don’t regret a thing
Yeah, I took some bad turns that I am owning
I’ll stand still and let the storm pass by
Keep my heart safe till the time feels right

But oh my, oh my
I’ll never learn if I never leap
I’ll always yearn if I never speak

To be loved and love at the highest count
Means to lose all the things I can’t live without
Let it be known that I will choose to lose
It’s a sacrifice, but I can’t live a lie

Let it be known

Let it be known that I cried for you
Even started lying to you
What a thing to do
All because I wanted

To be loved and love at the highest count
Means to lose all the things I can’t live without
Let it be known, known, known
That I will choose, I will lose
It’s a sacrifice, but I can’t live a lie
Let it be known
Let it be known that I tried, that I tried

Let it be known that I tried

References[]

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