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Adele When We Were Young Official Music Video

Written by: Dorene Mattingly

Watch the mesmerizing music video for "When We Were Young" by Adele, as she takes us on a nostalgic journey through emotions and memories.

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Music videos have become an integral part of the music industry, providing a visual and immersive experience that complements the soundscape of a song. They have the power to captivate audiences, tell stories, and evoke emotions that enhance the overall impact of the music. One such music video that stands out is “When We Were Young” by Adele.

Adele’s “When We Were Young” is a heartfelt ballad that showcases her powerful vocals and emotional depth. Released as a single from her critically acclaimed album “25” in 2016, the song struck a chord with audiences around the world. The accompanying music video takes the song to another level by creating a visually stunning narrative that perfectly complements the lyrics and amplifies the emotions conveyed in the song.

In this article, we will delve into the world of “When We Were Young” by Adele, exploring the inspiration behind the song, its release and reception, as well as provide a detailed analysis of the official music video. From the visual and artistic elements to the impact it has had on audiences, we will unravel the magic behind this captivating music video.


Overview of “When We Were Young” by Adele

“When We Were Young” is a poignant and soul-stirring ballad written by Adele and Tobias Jesso Jr. The song serves as a reflection on nostalgia and the bittersweet memories of a past relationship. It showcases Adele’s remarkable vocal range and emotive delivery, solidifying her status as one of the most talented and captivating artists of our time.

Released as the second single from Adele’s third studio album, “25,” “When We Were Young” quickly became a fan favorite and received critical acclaim. It debuted at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has since garnered millions of streams and downloads worldwide.

The song stands out with its hauntingly beautiful melody, accompanied by heartfelt and introspective lyrics. Adele’s raw and vulnerable performance, coupled with the powerful instrumentation, creates an atmosphere of longing and reminiscence.

Lyrically, “When We Were Young” paints a vivid picture of looking back on a past love. It explores themes of nostalgia, regret, and the overwhelming emotions that arise when reflecting on the innocence and intensity of a previous relationship. Adele’s evocative storytelling weaves a tale of longing for a time when everything felt simpler and passion burned brightly.

One of the standout moments of the song is the soaring chorus, where Adele belts out the lyrics, “Let me photograph you in this light, in case it is the last time, that we might be exactly like we were before we realized, we were sad of getting old, it made us restless.”

The song’s universal appeal lies in its ability to resonate with listeners of all ages. It captures the universal experience of reminiscing about a lost love or fleeting moments of happiness from the past. Adele’s powerhouse vocals convey a depth of emotion that transports listeners to their own personal memories.

Overall, “When We Were Young” is a timeless and emotionally charged ballad that showcases Adele’s exceptional talent as a singer-songwriter. Its relatable lyrics and powerful melody have made it a fan favorite and a standout track in Adele’s discography.


Background and Inspiration for the Song

“When We Were Young” by Adele is a song that dives deep into the realms of nostalgia and yearning for the past. Adele herself has stated that the inspiration for the song came from a conversation she had with Tobias Jesso Jr., the co-writer of the track. They discussed the challenges of growing older and the emotions that arise when reflecting on past relationships.

The songwriting process for “When We Were Young” started when Adele and Jesso Jr. sat down at a piano in a studio. They wanted to capture the essence of looking back on a youthful romance and it quickly became clear that they were onto something special. Adele’s personal experiences and Jesso Jr.’s ability to empathize with those emotions laid the foundation for this truly heartfelt song.

In an interview, Adele described the song as a “sour sweetness” that encapsulates the feeling of reminiscing on the past and grappling with the realization that time has passed by. The lyrics poignantly convey a yearning for the vibrant and carefree days of youth, when love was all-consuming and obstacles seemed conquerable.

As Adele’s career has progressed, her songwriting has evolved to incorporate a more introspective approach. “When We Were Young” is a prime example of this growth, showcasing her ability to delve into the complexities of relationships and the passing of time with profound honesty and emotional depth.

The song resonates with listeners because it taps into a universal sentiment – the longing for the past and the desire to revisit cherished memories. It speaks to the natural human tendency to romanticize the past and find solace in the familiar. Adele’s emotive vocals and the heartfelt lyrics create an immediate connection with the audience, allowing them to reflect on their own experiences of youthful love and the passage of time.

Overall, the background and inspiration for “When We Were Young” highlight the human desire to hold onto what once was. Adele, along with Tobias Jesso Jr., crafted a masterpiece that captures the fleeting essence of youth and the inevitable process of growing older. The song’s relatable themes and heartfelt execution make it a powerful and timeless addition to Adele’s discography.


Release and Reception

Following the success of Adele’s lead single “Hello” from her album “25,” “When We Were Young” was released as the second single in January 2016. The song received widespread anticipation and quickly gained traction on radio stations and music streaming platforms.

Upon its release, “When We Were Young” was met with critical acclaim. Music critics praised Adele’s powerful vocals and the song’s emotional depth. The track was lauded for its ability to evoke strong feelings of nostalgia and resonance with listeners. Many critics highlighted the seamless blend of Adele’s raw talent and the song’s introspective lyrics.

Commercially, “When We Were Young” fared well, reaching the top 10 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. The song peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, further solidifying Adele’s success on an international scale.

The song’s release was accompanied by a captivating live performance by Adele at The Church Studios in London. It was filmed and included as part of a promotional video for the song. The intimate and stripped-down rendition showcased Adele’s vocal prowess and highlighted the raw emotion behind the lyrics.

Adele’s fans and music lovers around the world embraced “When We Were Young” with open arms. The song resonated deeply with listeners, as it tapped into universal themes of nostalgia and the yearning for the past. Adele’s ability to connect on an emotional level and her signature powerhouse vocals further cemented her status as a beloved and influential artist.

The music video for “When We Were Young” also received positive feedback for its artistic direction and visual storytelling. Released alongside the song, the video perfectly complemented the song’s nostalgic themes and enhanced the overall experience for fans.

In summary, the release of “When We Were Young” was met with critical acclaim and commercial success. The song struck a chord with listeners worldwide, further solidifying Adele’s reputation as a powerhouse vocalist and a masterful storyteller. Its popularity continues to endure, as it remains a fan favorite and a standout track in Adele’s discography.


Synopsis of the Official Music Video

The official music video for “When We Were Young” is a visually stunning production that perfectly complements the emotive nature of the song. Directed by Paul Dugdale, the video was shot at The Church Studios in London, adding an intimate and nostalgic ambiance to the visuals.

The video opens with Adele preparing for her performance, showing glimpses of her in hair and makeup, as well as taking a moment to collect herself before taking the stage. As the song begins, the camera follows Adele as she walks through the corridors of the studio, entering a beautifully decorated room lit by soft, warm lighting.

As the camera pans around the room, the walls are adorned with photographs capturing moments of joy and happiness. These snapshots serve as visual representations of the lyrics, showcasing the memories of when Adele and her love interest were young and carefree.

Throughout the video, Adele delivers a captivating performance, pouring her heart and soul into every lyric. Her emotional delivery and vulnerability shine through as she sings about the longing for the past and the intensity of youthful love.

The visuals are carefully intertwined with the song’s lyrics, creating a sense of connectivity. As Adele croons “Let me photograph you in this light, in case it is the last time,” the camera captures candid moments of Adele and her love interest, freezing them in time.

Intermittently, flashbacks of Adele’s younger self are woven into the video, adding another layer of nostalgia. These scenes show a carefree, playful Adele, reminiscent of the innocence and joy of youth.

As the song progresses, the intensity builds, and the video transitions to shots of the audience, capturing their emotional reactions. Their faces show a mix of yearning, longing, and nostalgia, reflecting the impact of the song’s message on the listener.

The video concludes with Adele walking off the stage, leaving the room of memories behind. The camera lingers on the photographs, now empty and still, symbolizing the transient nature of time and the inevitable passage from youth to adulthood.

The “When We Were Young” music video effectively brings the lyrics to life, evoking a sense of wistfulness, nostalgia, and the power of capturing fleeting moments. The visuals serve as a poignant reminder of the bittersweet nature of memories and the longing to hold onto the past.

Overall, the music video for “When We Were Young” lays bare the emotions conveyed in the song, providing a beautiful and immersive visual accompaniment to Adele’s powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics.


Visual and Artistic Elements in the Video

The official music video for “When We Were Young” showcases a multitude of visual and artistic elements that enhance the storytelling and emotional impact of the song. From the cinematography to the set design, each element plays a crucial role in capturing the essence of nostalgia and longing.

The video’s cinematography is captivating, utilizing a mix of wide-angle shots, close-ups, and slow-motion sequences to bring out the emotional nuances of Adele’s performance. The camera work creates an intimate and immersive experience, allowing viewers to connect deeply with the song’s lyrics and themes.

The set design of the video is meticulously crafted, with The Church Studios in London serving as the backdrop. The warm and dimly lit environment creates an atmospheric and intimate ambiance, reminiscent of a time gone by. The use of antique furnishings and vintage props further adds to the nostalgic feel, transporting viewers to an era of sentimental memories.

A notable artistic element is the incorporation of photographs throughout the video. These photographs, displayed on the walls of the room, symbolize the captured memories of Adele and her love interest. Each photo represents a specific moment in time, frozen forever, highlighting the transient nature of nostalgia.

The selection and editing of these photographs align perfectly with the lyrics of the song. As the camera pans across the room, the images capture moments of joy, laughter, and intimacy. They serve as visual evidence of the emotions Adele sings about, reinforcing the longing for the past and the desire to hold onto precious memories.

Another artistic element employed in the video is the use of flashbacks. These scenes depict a younger version of Adele, carefree and full of life. The contrast between the present and the past further enhances the nostalgia and emphasizes the passage of time. These flashbacks not only give the video a narrative structure, but they also provide a visual representation of the lyrics, showing the vibrancy of youth that Adele longs to revisit.

Additionally, the inclusion of shots of the audience adds another layer of depth to the video. Their facial expressions and emotional reactions mirror the sentiments expressed in the song, showcasing the universal nature of nostalgia and longing. These shots create a sense of collective memory while emphasizing the power of music to evoke emotions and connect people.

Overall, the visual and artistic elements in the “When We Were Young” music video work in harmony to create a visually stunning and emotionally evocative experience. The attention to detail in the cinematography, set design, use of photographs, and incorporation of flashbacks contribute to the overall narrative and amplify the depth of feeling conveyed in the song.


Analysis of Adele’s Performance

Adele’s performance in the official music video for “When We Were Young” is nothing short of mesmerizing. With her powerful vocals, emotive delivery, and raw vulnerability, she brings the lyrics to life and captures the essence of longing and nostalgia.

Throughout the video, Adele showcases her exceptional vocal control and range, effortlessly hitting high notes and infusing each lyric with raw emotion. Her rich and soulful voice is the driving force behind the song’s emotional impact, resonating deeply with listeners and evoking a sense of longing and reflection.

One of the standout aspects of Adele’s performance is her ability to convey genuine emotion. Her facial expressions and body language are incredibly expressive, reflecting the sentiment of the song. Adele’s eyes convey a depth of sadness, wistfulness, and introspection, drawing the viewer into her world and making them feel every word she sings.

In addition to her vocal prowess, Adele’s ability to connect with the lyrics and evoke vulnerability is truly remarkable. The rawness in her voice and the subtleties of her phrasing bring out the underlying emotions in the song. She effortlessly captures the bittersweet nature of reminiscing about past love and the passage of time.

Adele’s performance in the video is marked by her engaging stage presence. As she moves through the room, she exudes a magnetic energy that captures the viewer’s attention. Her gestures and body language add to the storytelling, conveying the intensity of the lyrics and amplifying the emotional impact of the song.

Furthermore, Adele’s authenticity shines through in her performance. She embraces her vulnerability and wears her heart on her sleeve, creating a connection with her audience. This authenticity not only enhances the emotional resonance of the song but also reinforces Adele’s reputation as an artist who can evoke genuine emotions and create a profound impact with her music.

In summary, Adele’s performance in the “When We Were Young” music video is a testament to her exceptional talent and artistry. Her powerful vocals, emotive delivery, and strong stage presence create a captivating and emotionally charged experience. Adele’s ability to convey genuine emotions and connect with her audience makes her performance in the video truly memorable.


Impact and Legacy of the Music Video

The music video for “When We Were Young” by Adele has had a powerful impact on both fans and the music industry as a whole. Its emotional resonance, stunning visuals, and Adele’s captivating performance have solidified its place as one of the standout music videos of recent years.

Upon its release, the video garnered widespread acclaim for its artistic execution and ability to enhance the song’s emotional depth. Viewers were captivated by the nostalgic aesthetics, the intimate setting, and the raw vulnerability displayed by Adele. The video struck a chord with audiences around the world, resonating with their own experiences of yearning for the past and reflecting on lost loves.

The success of the music video contributed to the overall commercial success of “When We Were Young.” It helped propel the song up the charts, solidifying Adele’s position as a powerhouse in the music industry. The video also further showcased Adele’s unmatched ability to convey raw emotions through her performances, solidifying her status as one of the most influential artists of her generation.

The legacy of the “When We Were Young” music video continues to endure. Its visually stunning cinematography, heartfelt storytelling, and Adele’s exceptional performance have made it a timeless piece of art. The video has amassed millions of views on platforms like YouTube, and its impact is still being felt years after its initial release.

Furthermore, the music video serves as inspiration for aspiring artists and future musicians. It highlights the power of visual storytelling in music, reminding us that a well-crafted video can elevate a song to new heights. The success of the “When We Were Young” video has influenced subsequent music videos, encouraging artists to explore creative and visually captivating ways to accompany their music.

Ultimately, the impact and legacy of the “When We Were Young” music video lie in its ability to evoke powerful emotions and create a lasting connection with its audience. It remains a testament to Adele’s talent as a singer-songwriter and performer, solidifying her status as one of the most impactful and respected artists of her generation. Its lasting impact and continued popularity make it a video that will be remembered for years to come.



The music video for “When We Were Young” by Adele is a powerful and emotionally charged visual masterpiece. It perfectly encapsulates the essence of nostalgia, longing, and reminiscence that the song evokes. From the captivating cinematography to Adele’s raw and heartfelt performance, every aspect of the video adds to its impact and resonance.

Throughout the video, Adele’s ability to connect with the emotions conveyed in the song is awe-inspiring. Her powerhouse vocals, coupled with her vulnerable stage presence, create an intimate and immersive experience for viewers. The video’s visual and artistic elements, such as the use of photographs and flashbacks, enhance the storytelling and amplify the longing for the past.

The impact and legacy of the “When We Were Young” music video are evident in its critical acclaim, commercial success, and continued popularity. It has left an indelible mark in the music industry, inspiring artists to explore the potential of visual storytelling in music videos. The video’s ability to resonate with audiences on a deep emotional level has solidified its place as one of the standout music videos in recent years.

Adele’s performance in the video showcases her exceptional talent and artistry, cementing her status as one of the most influential artists of her generation. Her ability to convey genuine emotions and connect with listeners is a testament to her authenticity and musicianship.

In conclusion, the “When We Were Young” music video is a remarkable piece of art that enhances the power and impact of Adele’s heartfelt ballad. Its visually stunning aesthetics, coupled with Adele’s captivating performance, have made it an unforgettable experience for fans and music lovers alike. The video’s legacy will continue to endure, reminding us of the timeless nature of nostalgia and the enduring power of music to evoke profound emotions.

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