Song: ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’
US chart peak: 8
Release date: May 16, 2016
Writers: Adele, Max Martin, Shellback
Producers: Max Martin, Shellback
Quintessential Max moment: The way it’s still Adele, but different
Video synopsis: Multiple Adeles in a floaty Laura Ashley-inspired dress
I remember chatting to Savan Kotecha last summer and asking him if Max’s hugely successful work with artists like The Weeknd had perhaps moved him into a different realm. Not a better one necessarily, but perhaps convinced those people who favour things like authenticity and credibility that Max could also write them a really massive hit single. Savan said there were a few people who’d been in touch but obviously he couldn’t say who. I reckon one of them was Adele and – REAL REPORTING ALERT – the other might be Lorde, considering I saw her and Max at a Tove Lo gig together once. Anyway, the combination of Adele and Max is surprising but also makes perfect sense – she’s a great popster, songwriter and lover of a massive chorus, and Max, well, you know about Max.
The story goes that Adele actually didn’t know who Max Martin was before they worked together. She’d heard his songs, OBVIOUSLY, but like most people, she didn’t really give a shit about reading songwriting credits or scouring Wikipedia. “I was in New York, writing ‘Remedy’ with Ryan Tedder,” she told NPR (as quoted here). “We were having lunch, and ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ came on the radio – Taylor’s song that she did with Max and Shellback. I was like, ‘Who did this?’ I knew it was Taylor, and I’ve always loved her, but this is a totally other side – like, ‘I want to know who brought that out in her’.”
In her chat with i-D, the story then gets very Adele. “I was like, ‘I love this song, who did this?’ and he’s like ‘Max,’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max?’ and he’s like ‘Max Martin!’ and I’m like, ‘Oo’s Max Martin?’” Incredible. So Ryan sent her over a YouTube clip of Max’s greatest hits and obviously then she was all like ‘OH THAT’S MAX FUCKING MARTIN WHAT A LEGEND, KNOW WORRA I MEAN BABES COCKNEY KNEES UP ETC ETC AND SO ON AND SO FORTH’. Some conversations then took place about Max bringing out a different side to her etc, and then Max hopped on a plane to London. Adele then got her guitar out, played a riff she’d had for a little while and the rest is history (well, the song was then recorded in Stockholm and London and Shellback got involved too, so there was a bit more to it then that). “Max Martin, I just could hang out with him forever,” she said to NPR. “He’s so beautiful and lovely and funny and generous and warm and caring. He’s a really amazing man.”
The song itself, all skipping melodies and nimble musicality, is a hangover from ’21’. It’s apparently about the same guy who inspired a lot of that album and is, according to the lady herself, a “fuck-you song”. Lyrically the verses are pretty scathing (“this was all you, none of it me” is quite the opening line), while the chorus offers a glimmer of hope in its sense of release. Mind you, it also drips in passive aggressive ‘shade’, the “send my love to your new lover” line a brilliantly snide way of saying ‘yeah, good luck with that’. “I love it, it’s fucking sick,” is how Adele summed the song up. “Straight away, a million people in my life will be like, ‘Oh shit, what have I done…'”
My favourite thing about it is that it harks back to the Max Martin of old with those parenthesis. Long May (They Reign).