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"River Lea"
Adele 25
Song by Adele
from the album 25
Released
November 20, 2015
Length
3:45
Label
XL Recordings
Writer(s)
Adele Adkins, Brian Burton
Producer(s)
Danger Mouse
25 track listing
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"Water Under the Bridge" "Love in the Dark"
Audio

"River Lea" is a song recorded by Adele, taken from her third studio album, 25. The song was written by Adele with Danger Mouse, who also produced the song. It appears as the seventh track on the album.

Background Edit

"River Lea" was written with Danger Mouse and pays homage to Adele's hometown of Tottenham, as the River Lea Adele sings of on the song runs through her hometown. Speaking about the collaboration with Zane Lowe, Adele revealed that the track happened very quickly due to limited time, and was recorded in Los Angeles. She further added, "You can take the girl out of Tottenham, but you can't take Tottenham out of the girl."[1]

In a track-by-track review of the album with The New York Times, Adele revealed the inspiration of "River Lea":

River Lea is a river that runs by where I grew up in Tottenham in North London. I have very fond memories of Tottenham. There’s a saying, you can take a girl out of Tottenham but you can’t take Tottenham out of the girl. There’s nothing wrong with being sent back to Tottenham, but sometimes it’s quite unlikely that anything like this would happen to someone who comes from my background. And sometimes I get frightened that everyone’s going to realize that this is the biggest blag of all time, and I’m going to be sent back to Tottenham.

Sometimes I feel a bit bad as well. I feel a bit guilty about how well I’ve done. And even though I don’t feel like I’ve changed, I don’t have anything in common with who I was when I lived in Tottenham any more, other than that I’m the same person, and I feel bad about that sometimes. But I also know that anyone who is from the Tottenham that I’m from, if they had the opportunity to get out, they would. [Laughs][2]

In an interview with NPR, Adele further expanded on the meaning of the track:

[...] It's a filthy river. My experience of it was, whenever I was in our version of the projects, the river ran through it — so it ran through all my aunties' houses stuff like that. And we'd go down there and have little adventures, and sort of pretend like we were in the movie Stand By Me. A lot of my life was spent walking alongside the River Lea to go and get to somewhere else. It linked quite a lot of estates to each other, so that's how you'd meet up with your friends. But the idea of the song is that, especially since I've become a parent, let alone writing this record, I'm dealing with myself for the first time. And I have a lot of bad habits. And rather than admitting that I have bad traits in my actual character, I blame it on where I'm from.

You know, I went to the school of life. I'm not particularly smart in terms of education. I'm a smart lady, though — I like learning about things, and I make decisions based on knowledge rather than on a whim. But sometimes I feel a bit out of my depth, and I blame that on where I'm from — and, you know, it's not that. I'm very proud that I'm from Tottenham. I don't live there anymore, and I don't go back that often, but I'm very proud that I'm from there. It's completely made me who I am, and I think it's one of the reasons that I've managed to hold on to myself and keep myself together. We're very humble in Tottenham.[3]

Live performances Edit

Although "River Lea" was not included in the setlist for the Adele Live 2016 tour, it was soundchecked with "Love in the Dark" on May 25.[4][5] On June 25, during the Glastonbury Festival, Adele debuted it live for the first time.[6]

Chart performance Edit

Chart (2015) Peak position
Finland (Suomen virallinen latauslista)
5
France (SNEP)
80
Germany (Official German Charts)
97
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)
45

Credits Edit

Personnel[7]

  • Adele – songwriting, lead vocals, backing vocals
  • Danger Mouse – songwriting, producer, programmer, piano, electric guitar, organ,
  • Declan Gaffney – engineer, bass, percussion
  • Tom Elmhirst – mixer
  • Joe Visciano – mixing assistant

Lyrics Edit

Everybody tells me it's 'bout time that I moved on
And I need to learn to lighten up and learn how to be young
But my heart is a valley, it's so shallow and man made
I'm scared to death if I let you in that you'll see I'm just a fake
Sometimes I feel lonely in the arms of your touch
But I know that's just me cause nothing ever is enough
When I was a child I grew up by the River Lea
There was something in the water, now that something's in me

Oh I can't go back, but the reeds are growing out of my fingertips
I can't go back to the river

But it's in my roots, in my veins
It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain
Oh, It's in my roots, in my veins
It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain

So I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea
Yeah I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea

I should probably tell you now before it's way too late
That I never meant to hurt you or lie straight to your face
Consider this my apology, I know it's years in advance
But I'd rather say it now in case I never get the chance

No I can't go back, but the reeds are growing out of my fingertips
I can't go back to the river

But it's in my roots, in my veins
It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain
Oh, It's in my roots, in my veins
It's in my blood and I stain every heart that I use to heal the pain

So I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea
Yeah I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea
So I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea
Yeah I blame it on the River Lea, the River Lea, the River Lea

River Lea, River Lea
River Lea, River Lea
River Lea, River Lea
River Lea, River Lea
The River Lea-Lea-Lea-Lea
The River Lea-Lea-Lea-Lea
The River Lea-Lea-Lea-Lea
The River Lea-Lea-Lea-Lea

ReferencesEdit

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