Hello, it’s Adele. And she’s here to ruin your morning. The British singer’s new music video, which premiered late last night, opens with a sepia-toned shot of a dusty windowsill covered in mounds of dead flies. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re watching a clip for a Nine Inch Nails track rather than the lead single from the long-awaited follow-up to the biggest-selling pop album of 2011 and 2012.
“Hello,” from Adele’s forthcoming 25, is a downer of barbituric proportions. Instead of making an ostentatious return akin to the soul-drenched blues-pop of the propulsive “Rolling in the Deep,” she shoots straight for the fleshy muscle that pounds in your chest with a pensive love ballad in the vein of tearjerker “Someone Like You.” Produced by Greg Kurstin, the song opens with Adele uttering the title, “Hello,” inescapably conjuring Lionel Richie’s 1984 hit of the same name, but by the time she harrowingly belts the hook, “Hello from the outside/At least I can I say that I’ve tried,” the single has already carved out its own real estate in the canon of pop power ballads. It’s presently #1 on iTunes and I haven’t even finished writing this paragraph.