The Top 12 Saddest Adele Songs

Story by Aiden Park

Brace yourselves: Adele is coming to Austin. The superstar is slated to perform two sold-out nights at the Frank Erwin Center in November.

In honor of Adele’s upcoming concert, we’ve picked the top 12 saddest Adele songs of all time. To be clear, this list only includes songs that have been released on her three standard albums: 19, 21 and 25. Bonus songs, collaborations, and tracks written for T.V. or movies were not considered.

Without further ado, here are the saddest Adele songs, ranked from whimper-inducing to heart-shattering sob-worthy.


12 - DAYDREAMER (19)

The first track on her first album 19, “Daydreamer” was conceived after Adele’s bisexual crush betrayed her by making out with one of her close guy-friends, according to an interview with The Sun. Fun fact: Adele’s fans are called Daydreamers, a reference to this song.



Adele’s anguish over the decision to either stick with pursuing a crush who might “lead nowhere,” versus simply giving up resonates in all of us. Never give up on love, Adele. We’ve all been there.


10 - TAKE IT ALL (21)

As of September, Adele’s second studio album is certified as 14x platinum and has sold more than 31 million copies thus far. “Take It All” was the first song she wrote for the album. At the time of its conception, Adele was still dating the guy who 21 is about. Although the mystery man who fans call “Mr. 21” broke Adele’s heart, Adele’s album went on to win six Grammy Awards.


9 - ONE AND ONLY (21)

Adele tears “One and Only” to shreds with awe-inspiring vocal grit. Adele says she envisions the song as a conversation between her and a married man whom she loves. Similar to perhaps an innocent crush on a professor, such a relationship is only set up for failure.


8 - FIRST LOVE (19)

“First Love” is the kind of song that leads to red, itchy eyes and wet cheeks. In this lesser-known Adele tune, the songstress begs her “first love” to forgive her after falling out love. To make it even more heartbreaking, the song is set to the tune of a music box, as if to say youth and innocence are merely background noise.



Adele says the inspiration for this song came after going to a party and seeing everyone she used to be close to. Listening to Adele’s insanely high note she hits towards the end of the track, “When We Were Young” will make you want to call your childhood best friend for a quick check-up ASAP.


6 - HELLO (25)

In this track, Adele’s realization of her relationship that is in ruins is tormenting. She showcases her sheer, natural talent, blasting us with agonizing howls in each chorus. This aptly named tune ushered in a new era of Adele after five years of being AWOL. That alone is enough to make us emotional.



The song Adele says was added to 25 at the last minute. Adele’s vocals are stripped back and paired with a single guitar. She starts out low, mourning her pre-famous youth, then soars into a beautiful wail at the realization her “life is flashing by.” While most Adele songs leave us lamenting a love turned sour, “Million Years Ago” jumpstarts an existential crisis. And we relate.



We are now in the thralls of Adele piano ballads. “Turning Tables” is a song that commands to be screamed in a car, no matter how hard you’re sobbing and running the perpetual risk of crashing. If Adele’s songs were turned into a Broadway musical, this would be the perfect song to sing right before intermission.



This subtly devastating Bob Dylan cover is the fourth and final single from Adele’s first album. During her tour this year, Adele  dedicated performances of “Make You Feel My Love” to the Brussels bombing attack victims, Prince and Amy Winehouse. And who can forget the heart-stopping moment Lea Michele sang this song after Cory Monteith’s death in “Glee?” In closing, this song will wreck even the soulless. And it’ll be even sadder after they play it at my funeral.


2 - ALL I ASK (25)

Why this colossal piano ballad has yet to be released as a single is something I will never understand. This showstopper has an epic key change that will make you absolutely bawl. As the second-to-last track on 25, Adele saved the best for last. Although “All I Ask” is next to impossible to sing along to, I’d be damned not to try. Every. Time.



Come on, what did you expect? Adele literally cried while recording this for 21 - and it made the final cut. On this track, Adele is soul-crushingly honest and vulnerable, a departure from the mega-hit breakup anthem “Rolling in the Deep,” which is written about the same man. The narrative of lost love Adele builds in between each chorus makes the line, “Never mind I’ll find someone like you,” even more agonizing. It’s not so much that I cried really hard when it first came out, it’s that I cry every time, nearly five years since its release. “I don’t think I’ll ever write a nicer or better song,” Adele says in a youtube series explaining the inspiration behind every song. “It might be my song.” We agree.