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By: Sunanna Bhasin
In 2011, Adele released what she called a break-up album titled 21. After a painfully long hiatus, Adele is releasing 25, which she calls a make-up album. The teaser track, appropriately named “Hello,” was released to the public on Oct. 23, 2015. Having been out for just a few days, it has already generated positive feedback from fans, who are excited to see what is to come on Nov. 20. Covers of the track are already all over YouTube, and it seems like the music-loving community in general has a case of Adele fever. What is it about “Hello” that makes it resonate so completely with listeners? While Adele may have a flawless track record, there is something hauntingly beautiful about “Hello” that makes it stick out after only a single play.
In “Hello,” Adele refuses to go back to that dark place — whether it is a failed relationship or some other struggle — rather, she faces her past head-on and questions what went wrong. Instead of questioning in order to recreate the old scene, she sings about learning from past mistakes, accepting them and moving on.
“Hello” starts out apologetic with a slow, wistful verse: “Hello, it’s me / I was wondering if after all these years / You’d like to meet, to go over everything.” Yet, this song isn’t about resignation. Resignation would be too easy and would not allow for any personal growth. This is a song about acceptance and learning. It’s about re-visiting the past to learn from previous mistakes by considering both sides.
After the first couple of regretful verses, there is a gradual crescendo into an empowering chorus that makes listeners realize that it is possible to move on from a terrible situation and be okay with it: “Hello from the other side / At least I can say that I’ve tried to tell you / I’m sorry, for breaking your heart.” These lyrics are an indication of reconciliation with a partner or past problem as well as with oneself. Adele teaches us an important lesson with “Hello”: it is enough to try. Once you come to terms with a problem, internal or external, you are free to move on to the next stage in your life. That is when you can make up with both your present and past selves.
Does this track’s popularity stem from the fact that Adele is the one singing it? Absolutely. I don’t think anyone can dispute her powerful, warm voice. However, the lessons this song teaches are unique to the music we hear daily. We often hear of the messed up, unapologetic protagonist that moves on without looking back. This can be falsely empowering, while “Hello” reflects people’s realities by saying that ghosts from our past can haunt us, but that we do have the power to look them in the eye and reach some sort of resolution. Adele tells listeners that it’s okay not to say goodbye to your past because it is truly a big part of who you are. It’s better to say “hello” to your present and future and use the lessons you’ve learned along the way to become a better person and make the present worthwhile.