By Simran P. Gupta
After more than three years of musical silence since “Skyfall,” Adele has finally graced the ears of music fans worldwide with a record-smashing new single, “Hello.” She followed up that release with even more exciting news: her next album, “25,” is set to drop on Nov. 25.
In true Adele fashion, it’s called “25” because that’s how old she was when writing it. If her single “Hello” is any indication, her album won’t be missing any of the soulful wisdom that permeated the lyrics on either of her previous albums.
If anyone had forgotten the haunting, heartbreaking, utterly relatable qualities of Adele’s lyrics between “21” and “Hello,” they just got a mind-blowing reminder. The lyrics beg a past, scorned lover to listen to Adele one more time. They are simultaneously simple and poetic in that they manage to tell the story of a once-thriving relationship that fell into a bad ending. Adele is having a conversation with herself as much as she is with her ex, especially in the sense that this album is a “makeup” album, according to her posts on social media.
The simple piano base, crescendos and decrescendos, and Adele’s vocals as she belts out and sings her lyrics softly allow anyone to identify with her predicament.
“When I call, you never seem to be home,” she laments, and we all remember how hard it was to make things right with someone when we made mistakes in the past.
It’s no wonder, then, that the single’s stats are through the roof. As of Nov. 2, according to Music Business Worldwide, the track has had 127.7 million “listens” in the U.K. alone from 7,496 separate radio plays. In the U.S., according to Billboard, “Hello” holds the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
The video is just as masterfully done as the song itself and only adds to their genius. The entire video is in sepia tone—a subtle but distinctive choice. Done brashly, it makes the video cheap and lessens the impact of the story Adele, her producers, and the director are trying to tell. Done properly, it gives the story a timeless and classic quality.
As the song progresses, we see a relationship progress too, shown entirely in point of view shots (save for a couple), that drift in and out of focus. The progression of time feels as natural and seamless as the lyrics. We hear soft laughter and excited chatter in the background until the relationship comes to a crashing halt, which makes Adele’s story even more impactful.
Not surprisingly, the video smashed records in the same way the single did. In the first two days after its release, people played it one million to 1.5 million times an hour, which resulted in a total of 50 million views in its first 48 hours alone. To put the numbers in perspective, Taylor Swift used to hold the record for highest views on Youtube with 23.2 million views (almost a million views per hour), but no longer. “Hello” has even beat out and perhaps overshadowed the success of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”
Between the video and her lyrics, it’s clear that the last three years have only resulted in Adele’s gaining wisdom and new perspective to bring to her music. If “Hello” is any indication, “25” will be her most profound, work lyrically and musically, yet.