Adele’s 25: Hello

I’m finally getting around to writing about Adele’s record-breaking year-end album. I’ll go through the album song by song (in the order they appear on her album). This is less a review, and more me gushing over every song on this album. Let it begin!

Lyrics:

Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya
But I ain’t done much healing

Hello, can you hear me
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

There’s such a difference between us
And a million miles

Hello from the other side
I must have 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

Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Hello, how are you?
It’s so typical of me to talk about myself I’m sorry
I hope that you’re well
Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happened

It’s no secret that the both of us
Are running out of time

So hello from the other side
I must have 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
Hello from the outside
At least I can say that I’ve tried
To tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore

Thoughts:

This was the first single to drop from Adele’s album and it’s the first track as well. Admittedly, this song didn’t hit me as hard as it did many other people. I was glad that Adele was back but if this song comes up on my phone, I usually just shuffle past it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, I’ve just heard it so much that it’s lost much of it’s impact.

My favorite lines from the song, though, are in bold. On an episode of Switched on Pop, they compared this song to Drake’s Hotline Bling, and noted the outward facade of moving on that is covering up the actual ambivalence the singer feels about the whole situation. Without those lines, Hello just seems like an attempt at an apology and the acceptance of a break up. With those lines, it’s totally different. Although Adele presents herself as if she’s OK with the situation, those lines reveal her true feelings to be a bit more complicated than that.

I can kind of relate to that. There’s a part of you that actually wants the person you ended things with to still be heartbroken over it. However illogical and generally upsetting that may sound, it’s true. I think the reason for this desire is because, if you’re reconnecting with an ex to “apologize”, you’re actually not completely over it either. You may not be interested in reviving the relationship, but it’s probably still something you think about.

There’s also the reality that none of us wants to be the bad guy. But if you go to an ex to apologize for how you broke up and he says, “don’t worry about it, I don’t really care anymore”, you’re left to wonder why he doesn’t care. Did you ruin things to such an extent that the person no longer even wants to spend emotional energy conversing with you? Were you so destructive that you had to be forgotten?

All of these thoughts, and this song generally, lead into the final line in bold. Because, in reality, this song is about someone who is just a bit too self-involved. She goes back to talk to the ex not because she’s concerned about his well-being, but because she wants to free herself from any anguish, pain, or regret that she may feel. And isn’t that what it means to be 25? To know that you’ve done wrong but still be a bit too narcissistic to deal with that wrong appropriately. It’s looking back on the issues but still being unable to clearly identify their causes.

I don’t mean to imply that 25 is all youthful arrogance and egoism, I think it’s actually just the remnants of those things. It’s the final foray into stupidity before better logic sets in. So it’s more like straddling the line between narcissism and  selflessness.

Grade: B

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