If you were lucky enough to move to New York City in the early 2000s — just around the time that bands like the Strokes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were giving downtown a justly deserved kick in the balls — you might have also been lucky enough to see Antony and the Johnsons performing somewhere like the Knitting Factory or the Kitchen. Even moreso than the rock bands of the era, seeing Antony Hegarty (now known simply as ANOHNI) performing in a dingy bar was actually the stuff fabled NYC dreams are made of. To see this mysterious, gender-indeterminate figure with the voice of an angel singing Angelo Badalamenti covers to a room full of queer degenerates such as myself was both inspiring and life-giving: It was the reason people like me came to this city, to rub elbows with the kind of people that simply could not exist anywhere else.
In her first proper interview in over four years, the now 27-year-old Adele Adkins recently told a journalist from i-D, “Life is so much easier when you don’t hoard your past.” It’s a fairly potent statement coming from someone who has essentially built her stadium-sized career out of doing that very thing. Over the course of three albums Adele, the gazillion-selling British phenomenon, has proven herself to be the queen of romantic rumination — dissecting, articulating, and gloriously amplifying her own heartbreak in ways that, quite literally, make the whole world weep. At the time of the interview, the suggestion that her new album, the just-released 25, might shake off some of her melancholy and melodrama was an intriguing one. No longer heartbroken and now happily familied, what might a forward-looking and seemingly content Adele sing about?