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River Lea (song)

"River Lea"
Song by Adele
from the album 25
Producer(s)Danger Mouse

"River Lea" is a song by English singer-songwriter Adele from her third studio album, 25 (2015). The song was written by Adele Adkins and Brian Burton, while production of the song was provided by Burton under his pseudonym Danger Mouse. Lyrically, the track is partly about the River Lea in London. Musically, the song is a gospel song with a ghostly feel. "River Lea" received positive reviews from critics, with The Guardian calling it "one of the most striking tracks" on 25 and spent 32 weeks at #1 on gospel chart song in US.[1]

The song peaked at number 5 on the Finland Chart and number 80 on the France Chart. It debuted at number 97 on the Official German Charts.


"River Lea" is a biographical song with a "ghostly feel."[2] It is partly about the River Lea, a London tributary to the River Thames.[3] It is a marshy river, and its significance to Adele is that it is located near her birthplace.[4] Adele says, "A lot of my life was spent walking alongside the River Lea to go and get somewhere else."[5] Adele also describes how the song is about how she has changed from the time she lived in the area around the river.[6] There is a lot of guilt wrapped up in the song and Adele "cuts off the ends of her sentences as if she does not want to say what she is saying."[7] SPIN magazine writes that she takes the name of the river itself and "warps the phrase into an amorphous being."[8] The song is in the genre of gospel music.[9] The music behind the lyrics contains "choirlike keyboard chords created from her own sampled voice."[10]

"River Lea" is written in the key of E minor with a tempo of 83 beats per minute. The song follows a chord progression of C – D – Em – A, and Adele's vocals span from E3 to B4.[11]


Chart (2015) Peak
Finland Download (Latauslista)[12] 5
France (SNEP)[13] 80
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 97
South Korea International Chart (Gaon)[15] 29
UK Indie (OCC)[16] 45


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (20 November 2015). "The Bad Sex Award Needs a New Sort of Climax". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  2. ^ Didcock, Barry (20 November 2015). "Adele Delivers Another Masterful Entry to Her Impressive Songbook". The Herald. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  3. ^ Empire, Kitty (22 November 2015). "Adele: 25 Review - A River Runs Through It". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 3 October 2022. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
  4. ^ Mehta, Maitri (20 November 2015). "Is 'River Lea' Real? Adele Sings About an Important Location on '25'". Bustle. Archived from the original on 4 February 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  5. ^ "'You Can't Prepare Yourself': A Conversation With Adele". NPR. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 9 March 2023. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  6. ^ Pareles, Jon (24 November 2015). "Adele on '25': Song by Song". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Lounge Loves: Adele's '25'". Mint. 27 November 2015. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  8. ^ Carley, Brennan (19 November 2015). "Adele's '25′: SPIN's Impulsive Reviews". Spin. Archived from the original on 23 January 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  9. ^ Kornhaber, Spencer (20 November 2015). "The Humanity of Adele's 25". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  10. ^ Hiatt, Brian (3 November 2015). "Adele: Inside Her Private Life and Triumphant Return". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 5 November 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  11. ^ Adkins, Adele (December 2015). "River Lea". Archived from the original on 24 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Adele: River Lea" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat.
  13. ^ "Adele – River Lea" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ "Adele – River Lea" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart". Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  17. ^ "British single certifications – Adele – River Lea". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 July 2023.
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River Lea (song)
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