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Adele, 'Easy On Me'

For her first new song in six years, Adele deviates from the expected show-stopping lead single — goodbye, "Hello." Instead, the determinedly straightforward and achingly honest "Easy On Me" is a slow burn. Produced by frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin, Adele's return single finds the British singer-songwriter acknowledging internal demons and the damage they've inflicted. It's not a heartbreak anthem as much as a tentatively hopeful ballad from a woman emerging from an emotionally marooned period. Rough with feeling, Adele's pliant vibrato stretches before leaping over an intense piano progression. "Easy On Me" is a plea: a reminder to oneself and a loved one that giving up isn't necessarily a failure and that even in our missteps, we're worthy of tender patience. 30, Adele's fourth studio album, will be released Nov. 19.

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LaTesha Harris is NPR Music's editorial assistant. A relentless jack-of-all-trades, she takes turns writing, editing and producing music coverage. Invested in the culture behind pop, hip-hop and R&B, her work highlights the intersection between identity and history. Once in a blue moon, Harris moonlights as a talking head with no filter.