When Adele launched her new album 30 to what seemed like worldwide applause – in Britain alone it sells the rest of the Top 40 together – how depressingly predictable there has been a small chorus of disapproving men looking to pick holes in her success .
The target for their anger is the fact that the British star has dared to use her relationship with ex-husband Simon Konecki as material.
Writing about her devastating split with her son Angelo’s father two years ago, she has poured her heart into new songs like Easy On Me (“I changed who I was to put you both first”) and Hold On (“Sometimes loneliness is the only rest we get’).
But by sharing that vulnerability, she became the target of dazzling critics. One Twitter user spat: ‘Adele is boring me stiff! No better than exploiting her ‘heartbreaking divorce’ for record sales, eh?’
Adele has been criticized for using her relationship with ex-husband Simon Konecki (pictured) as material for her new album 30
When I heard this, I couldn’t help but think mockingly about all the male performers who have mined their love lives forever. The only difference is that men call their subjects “muses” and that is meant as a compliment.
Many of the songs that made Mick Jagger millions were inspired by the sweet, petite Marianne Faithfull. She has since spoken of her unease about being in the limelight: “Living with a great artist like Mick Jagger is a very, very destructive role for a woman trying to be herself.” She went on to battle heroin addiction and spent two years homeless.
Another pop star, Taylor Swift, is torn by critics for daring to use her bad romances as inspiration — as in Dear John (reportedly about guitarist John Mayer, whom she allegedly dated in 2009) and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (written after her split from One Direction singer Harry Styles in 2013).
But I never remember anyone criticizing Bob Dylan for doing the same thing. His relationship with Suze Rotolo in the early 1960s inspired songs like Boots Of Spanish Leather and Tomorrow Is A Long Time. But after a bitter argument with her and her sister, Dylan’s Ballad In Plain D from 1964 contains the text ‘For her parasite sister, I had no respect’. No one had tricked him for that.
Likewise, when Justin Timberlake stalked a woman who looked exactly like his ex Britney Spears in the 2002 video for Cry Me A River, he was rewarded with an outpouring of sympathy for her alleged cheating and a worldwide hit.
Swift herself has proclaimed this inequality. In 2014, she said, “You’re going to have people who will say, ‘She just writes songs about her ex-boyfriends.” And I honestly think that’s a very sexist angle.
Taylor Swift (pictured) has also been torn by critics for daring to use her bad romances as inspiration – as in Dear John and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
“Nobody says that about Ed Sheeran. Or Bruno Mars. They all write songs about their . . . love life, and no one is raising the red flag there.’
Swift is right. Why shouldn’t our modern female stars expose their souls in the same way? They are entertainers after all. If Adele were just sauntering through and singing about feeding the cat or getting a pedicure, it would be boring. So of course the lows of her life are highlighted in her new songs.
And it was the same on the 2011 album that made her a household name, 21.
As she poured out her heartbreak after a painful split on songs like Someone Like You and Rolling In The Deep (“You had my heart inside of your hands, You’re gonna wish you never had me meet”), she connected with her audience. on a deeply personal and moving level.
Oh, the irony that this former boyfriend — refusing to name Adele — broke her heart and later got in touch to demand some of the royalties for her inspiration.
Beyonce is another female superstar who is not afraid to be candid about her love life in her work, and who seems to brilliantly turn personal pain into art. When rumors surfaced that husband Jay-Z might be cheating on her, she promptly sang about another woman – “Becky with the good hair” – on the 2016 album Lemonade. The spice of the scandal certainly didn’t hurt sales, and the was named the album of the decade by the Associated Press.
Julie Burchill argues that all artists use their own lives for inspiration, and if Adele (pictured) were to meander through and sing about feeding the cat or getting a pedicure, it would be boring
The truth is that all artists seek their own lives for inspiration.
The fact that female stars are finally getting the same kind of acclaim as men for their intimate reveals should make every woman cheer.
An artist’s experience is their collateral, and if you can’t stand that, go on a date with a doctor. (They swear not to harm you, we’re the opposite.) Not for nothing, during his nervous breakdown, F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “I’ve avoided writers very carefully because they can perpetuate problems like no one else can.”
Me, that’s why I like all kinds of writers and artists. We never stop planning. We forgive and never forget. It may seem like it, but we are filing a report against us, real or imagined, for use at a later date.
They say that no one is a hero to his servant – how much more true that no one is a hero to their husband. And if that spouse is a creative artist, you should expect her to dissect you after the divorce. When I left my first husband, novelist Tony Parsons, in 1984, I heard a rumor – I don’t know if it was true – that he had a novel based on me called Ambition.
It went unpublished, but I boldly grabbed the title for my own number 1 bestseller.
Julie states that men call their subjects “muses” and that is meant as a compliment. Pictured: Ed Sheeran
Then the war of words began in the press: “Hell hath no fury like a first woman who gets fat” (him). I took back: ‘I agree with him that his book Man And Boy is more fiction than fact. The hero has all his own hair, is catnip for women and does not need to grab the publicity by incessantly attacking his much more attractive, talented, famous and younger ex-wife. So Parsons and I will take care of that right away.” In the end, he decided to ‘consciously withdraw’ from the scrap.
Fortunately, I have always been able to give as good as I received. But I know I’m lucky to have had the strength and the opportunity to strike back. Too often, throughout history, women have been mere muses, seen but never heard.
This is exactly what people like Adele, Beyonce, and Taylor Swift ensure won’t happen to them. Good for them – and for music lovers moved by passionate pop songs, not Dad.
Marianne Faithfull once summed up her music career by saying, “It was basically “I’m beautiful – please buy me!” .’ I know what I prefer.
It’s good to know that we women can finally tell our own stories on stage instead of just serving the creative urges of men. After all, for an artist – man or woman – revenge is a dish best served cold, in public, for a fee, with a hefty publicity campaign.