Today would be a great day to go through a break up. Mama Adele is back to take care of you.
The world is one giant crying emoji today, joining hands to weep together over the release of Adele’s new song, “Hello,” the first single off her upcoming album 25. The record will be her first since 2011’s 21, which won six Grammys and went platinum 16 times. This is also Adele’s first new song since her Bond theme, “Skyfall,” won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
The song is so Adele-y. And it’s making everyone lose their shit.
“Hello, it’s me,” the ballad begins, as if Adele is actually speaking to us, saying, “Hi, I know y’all have been thirsting for me.” Yes, Adele. We were.
It’s an Adele song, so it’s twinkly and then shout-y and of course about heartbreak. It’s perfect for crying along with your girlfriends and pairs well with pumpkin spice lattes.
There’s something quite brilliant about using this as a comeback single, too. It’s so true to Adele's brand—exquisite simplicity made glorious by the swell of a booming chorus—that it’s almost a parody of an Adele song.
But though the sound is the same as it’s always been, it’s the emotions that have matured.
In the tried-and-true formula of “Someone Like You” or “Turning Tables,” “Hello” opens with coy confessions over soft piano tinkles, eventually giving way to Adele’s lion’s roar of heartbreak.
The song is about picking up the pieces of a broken heart. As she belts the chorus—“Hello from the other side / I must’ve called a thousand times / To tell you I’m sorry, for everything that I’ve done”—the power is so guttural and so forceful it’s like she is projectile vomiting her heart. Elegantly, of course.
The ecstatic reaction the song has already gotten just hours after its release speaks to the singer's ability to live up to expectations. Three years of anticipation puts a lot of pressure on a comeback single. Just ask Lady Gaga how hard it is to satisfy fans who are starved for new music from their favorite divas.
So it was smart of Adele to return to that sepia-toned eternal autumn where she lives and deliver a classic ballad that aggressively accomplishes everything we want from an Adele song: big voice, big emotion, and structural simplicity. The amount we wish we were in a car screaming along to it on the radio right now cannot be properly expressed.
By noon on Friday the music video for “Hello” had already racked up nearly 3 million views on YouTube. Twitter instantly transformed into a 140-character open mic night, with all your favorite social media mavens hustling to pen witty tweets about crying along to the song. Before I had even showered for the day Lena Dunham posted on Instagram a video of herself performing a Dubsmash version of the song.
Katy Perry posted this. It’s funny! Three claps for Katy Perry.
We all love nothing more than bonding in mass rhapsody, to the point that any criticism of “Hello” at this point would be tantamount to blasphemy, treason, and disparaging Beyoncé. The magnitude of such an affront, based on a survey of social media’s current state of ecstasy, would be immeasurable. We do, however, discourage favoriting anyone who tweets a joke that Adele “had me at ‘Hello.’” Come on, guys. Be more clever.
But the fawning does, in a way, signal how much we were craving Adele’s music.
In a pop music landscape that favors overproduction and faux swagger, that confuses “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony as a good pop song and turned “Bad Blood” into a No. 1 hit, Adele represents class. She respects musicality, and the way it surfaces emotion. She’s the rare pop star to see value in the ballad over the club banger.
It’s like her timing was her own special shade at her colleagues.
She surveyed the state of music. She sensed the Internet orgasming over Drake in a turtleneck and trying to convince themselves that a moderately OK Justin Bieber song was a masterpiece, and then was all like, “Ha! Here you are, my children.” Then she released “Hello” and dropped the mic. So cute of anyone else to pretend to release music this year.
The accompanying music video, too, is quite spectacular. It was shot by breakout Canadian director Xavier Dolan (Mommy) and is the first music video partially shot using IMAX cameras. (Finally a screen big enough to accommodate the size of Adele’s voice and emotions.)
It was filmed outside Montreal and co-stars The Wire actor Tristan Wilds, who plays Adele’s ex-boyfriend in flashbacks. Basically she glades around a rural estate wearing a fabulous floor-length coat, belting to the autumn breeze about repairing herself from heartbreak. Nobody strolls and sings better than Adele. And, dear god, does she look gorgeous.
In an interview on Friday with Sirius XM host Jenny Eliscu, Adele talked about the cheekiness of making the opening lines of her first song in years, “Hello, it’s me.” She claims that she was nervous about the line, but the swiftness with which she was able to pen the rest of the verse convinced her it was a good idea. “But also it’s incredibly conversational,” she said. “I didn’t want to come back with some spectacular point. I didn’t have any points to prove.”
Well, she proved one anyway. Adele is our queen. Today is Adele Day. As the reaction has already proven, it’s fruitless to pretend to do anything today besides obsess over “Hello” and its video. Who has time to work when there is retreating into the trenches of our own emotional trauma and then sobbing along with Adele to be done? Has 7-Eleven already run out of pints of Ben & Jerry’s?
It’s the special talent of Adele’s writing. She has a direct line into our hearts, the rare person who can speak and sing about her own personal experience and have it resonate so acutely with our individual journeys. We love Adele because we are Adele. And after that “Hello” video, I’ve never wanted to actually be her more.
So have a good weekend, everyone. Excuse me while I get a fierce blowout, put on a fur coat, and spend the weekend bellowing in a windy wood while fallen leaves circle my body. I’m already practicing artfully caressing my face with my hands.