Adele Says Hello To Her Former Self
After four years, Adele is back.
Her last album, titled 21, destroyed the charts. Released in January 2011, it somehow managed to outsell every album for two years. Album sales aren’t what they used to be, so achieving the best selling album of 2011 and 2012 is impressive. Doing it with a single album is hilarious.
It’s sold 11.2 million copies in the United States, firmly planting itself on the Top 100 US Albums (ever) list. To put that into context, Taylor Swift’s Red, which was released in 2012, has sold “only” 4.2 million units in the United States. 21 was — and still is — a sales behemoth.
Adele could’ve turned around and released an album in 2012 and probably thrown the earth off its axis. Instead she stopped making music altogether. She took a break. She got engaged. She had a baby. She re-connected with her estranged father. “I have to take time and live a little bit,” she said in 2012. “There were a good two years between my first and second albums, so it’ll be the same this time.”
Instead, it would end up being nearly five years.
Her next album, fittingly titled 25, is coming next month. She’s back with “Hello”, and sounding as good as ever. While 21 felt pointed and direct, specifically addressing a past relationship, “Hello” feels self-reflective and blisteringly personal.
“My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record. I’m making up with myself,” she wrote in an open letter two days before the song’s release. “25 is about getting to know who I’ve become without realising.”
And so she sings to herself:
Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years
You’d like to meet
The best art works by being personal and by letting others inside. Adele opens up and shows us where her head is at. Not many people can say they’ve essentially conquered the music world with something they made as a 21-year-old, but Adele can. And as fulfilling as that had to be, you simply can’t make it through that and remain the same. She’s completely different than she was when she wrote 21. “There’s such a difference between us, and a million miles,” she sings.
She takes time to reminisce with her former self:
I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be
When we were younger and free
I’ve forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet
“Hello” is so amazing because it’s blending “old Adele” and “new Adele” seamlessly. It completely exemplifies her current mental state while disguising itself as a classic Adele song. Until you dig deeper, this sounds like it could be a song from 21. The lyrics read like she’s reconnecting with a former lover she grew apart from, when in reality that person is herself.
She’s planted her flag on top of the world, but she’s lost something along the way. She’s trying to reach the person she used to be.
Hello from the other side
I must’ve called a thousand times to tell you
I’m sorry, for everything that I’ve done
But when I call you never seem to be home
I don’t think there are many ways to understand a person better than reading a letter to their younger self. In 2012, Frank Ocean took to Tumblr to talk to himself, and it was pretty powerful.
Adele can move mountains as it is, and “Hello” only makes that power stronger. If 25 is anything like this, we’re gonna have another earth-shaker on our hands.
Originally published at fromloveland.com, October 23, 2015.