Three years is a long time in pop music; long enough for rising stars to displace established names, and for tricks that once felt new to stale and shrivel. And yet, somehow Adele has managed to resist the nullifying effects of the years. Her new single Hello feels as striking and original as Rolling In The Deep felt way back in 2011, and there is nothing in the song to suggest that the singer’s talents have been reduced one iota during her break. Indeed, it seems as though her time away from making new music has strengthened her; she has come stronger; more emotive; more pained
Though she has described 25, the album for which Hello serves as lead single, as a ‘make up’ album, those worried Adele has abandoned her melodrama and melancholy saturated lyrical content need not fear a thing. Hello is still brash, emotive stuff, full of striking lyrics that document some very real pain. As ever, she sings like one who has been hurt, but refuses to lay down after taking a blow. She is pained, but not passive, and her defiance provides the song its emotional fulcrum.
The chorus is something to behold; it feels less as though it has been written and more as though it has been gouged into life. It’s utterly human, and as bombastic and catchy as pop of this kind comes. It’s larger than life, sure, but in its extremity lives the entire breadth of human emotion.
Powerful. Broad. Emotive. Hello is all of these things and yet more. In fact, the only people who will be disappointed by Hello are those who expected Adele to slip up; for the rest of us, this is another masterwork from a popsmith without equal.