There’s no reminder of the gaping hole Adele has left in pop music over the three years since “Skyfall” debuted quite like her gorgeous return, “Hello.” The first single off her years-in-the-making 25 is exactly what fans want — nay, need! — from the British singer: love-ravaged lyrics about a relationship long-gone and her full-bodied alto bleeding emotion.
But it’s also more. The track’s production is entrancing — jazzy flairs have been swapped for fuller, lusher atmospherics that wrap around you, swirling through her verses and lifting her vocal to its crescendo.
Adele previously wrote that 25 would be a “make-up record,” but “Hello” fits in with the rest of her beloved, and popular, sonic sobfests. On the track, the 27-year-old singer calls out to an old lover to apologize for leaving him behind, for moving on, for not staying in that small town. He never picked up the phone to hear her apology, but there’s no chance he misses it now.
“I felt like I was never going to finish this record,” Adele told BBC Radio 1 on Friday morning. “It was a long process. I wanted to give up a lot because I couldn’t do it. I thought I’d run out of ideas and I’d lost my ability to write a song.” The singer, whose last record, 21, was released in 2011, admitted to writing and scraping an earlier follow-up that focused on motherhood. Adele’s son, Angelo, was born in October of 2012.
“My team around me are so amazing. They’re very honest. They were like, it’s not good enough. Go back to the drawing board,” Adele said of the earlier work. According to the singer, the songs, “about being a mum,” wound up “pretty boring.”
“Hello” is produced by Greg Kurstin, who previously worked with Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Sia, and Beck, among others. The song’s video, which can be seen above, was directed by acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan and costars Tristan Wilds (The Wire).
25 is currently available for pre-order through Target. The album will arrive on Nov. 20.
The full track listing for the collection is below.
2. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”
3. “I Miss You”
4. “When We Were Young”
6. “Water Under The Bridge”
7. “River Lea”
8. “Love In The Dark”
9. “Million Years Ago”
10. “All I Ask”
11. “Sweetest Devotion”
12. “Can’t Let Go”*
13. “Lay Me Down”*
14. “Why Do You Love Me”*
*Target exclusive bonus track.