Single Review: Say “Hello” to the slayage; Adele has returned!

“I heard that you’d settled down”. Funny how Adele’s own words came to ring so true for herself. After the release and indescribable acclaim and success of her sophomore album 21 in 2011, Adele nothing short of disappeared. With the exception of recording the theme to the James Bond film Skyfall (which was mildly successful, earning Adele an Academy Award and a Golden Globe), she has shied away from the public eye and released no music, played no shows. She settled down with the man she was dating, had a child, and has apparently been basking in motherhood. Until now.

Speculation of Adele’s return has been rampant and rabidly craved, like most addictive substances. The closest thing to hold over fans was a polarizing cover of “Rolling In The Deep” by Aretha Franklin (which we’re still waiting for Adele’s opinion of). Finally, after millions of rumors, industry murmurs, flat out lies, and a few subtle hints from Adele herself,  she is making her return. Her new album, 25, will release at the end of November 2015. The first single “Hello” graced our ears for the first time today.

“Hello. It’s me.” The opening lines are so poignant and appropriate for her first musical offering in what feels like an eternity. Her voice has a slightly different tone to it (probably due in part to her quitting smoking and 2011 vocal surgery), but it doesn’t slow her down for a moment. She searches for closure from a lost love (or friend), just looking to check in and apologize for everything that she’s done, including breaking their heart. The song begins with just piano, and builds gradually to the final reading of the chorus  filled with booming percussion, filling bass, haunting bells, and multiplied vocals. It’s beautiful that as easily as she could speaking to a love or a friend, or ever directly to the listener who felt abandoned by her absence.

 It’d be fair to say that the song leaves something to be desired, even if it can very easily set off your personal Niagara Falls. It’s downbeat, different, and distant from her last lead single, the gospel-tinged, foot-stomping “Rolling In The Deep”, but it’s still damned good. That’s the most important thing to remember about the standards we hold Adele to today: She can unleash a guaranteed tearjerker, but comparing it to 21 leaves a hunger for more.

Grade:
80/97

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: