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Adele’s “Hello” Reviewed

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Was it me who said Adele was terrible, she over sang everything and had a team of producers to get her through, back in 2011? Was it me who called her the most overrated singer of all time? Well, was it? Actually, that about sums up my position. BUT, I was covering the charts then the way I am now and was really sick of it, I preferred 19, and anyway “Rolling In The Deep”, “Set Fire To The Rain” and “Rumour Has It” remain completely unbearable. The definition of MOR overkill.

On the other hand, “Someone Like You”, the stalker hand book for fat chicks in song, is still excellent. And so was “Skyfall” and so is “Hello”, her grand return after four years, off Adele’s upcoming 25. I loved “Hello” from the 30 second teaser we got two weeks ago and while I have struggled with the track since it was released, I shouldn’t have struggled so hard. It is a beautiful song, witty in the extreme: “Hello, it’s me, I was wondering after all these years you’d like to meet…” is a terrific, sleek, slick, introduction to her first new song in years. “Life happens”, she explained last week. Sure does. “Hello”, a piano based ballad with some autotune and echo on the chorus, the very very catchy chorus, is Adele 101. It’s like she changed the sexes on “Someone Like You” and then, returned to the scene of the crime where she broke a guy’s heart and wanted him back. She still won’t take no for an answer.

The years haven’t touched Adele’s voice and the feeling seems to drip off and leak on your shoes like the sting of tears on a rainy Sunday afternoon. No one would call it subtle, though compared to “Skyfall” it is on the quiet side: it sounds a little like what you’d imagine from Sam Smith, there is an Englishness unlike Max Martin productions. At nearly five minutes in length, “Hello” takes its time resolving nothing but that they are running out of time.

Co-written by The Bird And The Bee’s Greg Kurstin, who also played everything on it, and produced it, this isn’t Swedish power pop, it is hausfraus and their family members growing old miserably. Greg’s band The Bird And The Bee are OK nothing great  (better than Onerepublic) and while I know Greg as the man behind Lily Allen’s awesome “Alfie”, he has had his own fair share of chinger (chick singer) hits way on top of that. Pink’s “Blow Me (Another Kiss)” was a big hit as was Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”. He produced the entire Sia 1000 Forms of Fear. There’s more (the Shins! Billy Idol!) but you get the picture.

Greg has two other tracks on 25 and if nothing else, “Hello” does exactly what Adele needed it to do: it gave her what I guess will be a huge hit and satisfied everybody that, indeed, Adele knows what her job is how can still do it.

Grade: B+

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