Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” Lyrics Meaning

Many say Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” is filled with emotions that are beyond raw. We totally agree with that assertion. The song is loaded to the brim with emotional intensity.

The Lyrics

The lyrics tell the tale of a meaningful relationship that has sadly met its demise. And according to the narrator’s side of the story, the relationship collapsed due to the dishonest and selfish acts of her lover (who she was deeply in love with.

At the start of the relationship, everything apparently moved smoothly. The narrator was head over heels in love the subject of the song. But as time progressed, he began to literally misbehave (i.e. lying, being dishonest, being very controlling, etc) to the point where the narrator is left utterly disappointed and hurt.

And to add insult to injury, she realizes that all those beautiful words he said to her at the beginning of their relationship were nothing but a pack of lies.

Now she’s had enough of his wicked games (which always ended up with him being the winner). Owing to this, she has decided to let him go. Her broken heart can’t take his BS anymore. She therefore breaks off the relationship in order to save her bleeding heart from suffering more injury.

What really is the meaning of “Set Fire to the Rain”?

As used in the context of the lyrics, the aforementioned phrase can mean a number of things. But of all the possible things it could mean, one stands out more prominently than the others. And that is the accomplishment of something that is extremely difficult or impossible.

Everyone knows that literally setting the rain ablaze is an impossible task. It is akin to walking on the air (something virtually impossible to do). By virtue of this, it is beyond clear that Adele is using the phrase in question as an idiomatic expression. Simply put, “set fire to the rain” is used figuratively throughout the song.

But how is accomplishing something impossible connected to this song? We hear you ask!

There is actually a strong connection! The accomplishment of the impossible is apparently one of the prominent themes of this song. How so?

Think of it this way. Here is a young woman totally smitten and in love with a man who turns out to be a toxic lover. In other words, this young woman has found herself in the trap of a textbook example of a toxic relationship. And the saddest part of it is that she happens to be the victim or the weaker person of the said relationship.

And it is common knowledge that a woman leaving a toxic union is one of the most difficult things to do. So if Adele (the narrator) has been able to summon up the strength and courage to just walk out of the relationship even though she still obviously has feelings for him, she technically can be said to have accomplished a very difficult task.

Now, it should be noted that this accomplishment is something many a victim of toxic affairs is unfortunately unable to achieve. So by doing this, Adele has “set fire to the rain” (i.e. accomplished the impossible).

And having set fire to the figurative rain, she proceeds to throw the toxic relationship into the figuratively blazing fire. At the end of the day, the said furnace burns the relationship into ashes and sets Adele free at long last.

Adele, "Set Fire to the Rain" Lyrics
Set Fire to the Rain
Adele describes "Set Fire to the Rain"

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