Written by Staff Writer
Adele, in fact, belongs to the highest order. A red-hot, critically acclaimed singer who once described herself as a “flag-waving white-girl from Tottenham,” she is the Vengaboys to Liam Payne’s Boyzlife.
She has faced racial discrimination herself: after she burst onto the scene with her debut album “19” in 2008, people would remark on her “part eastern European and part northern accent,” she later told Rolling Stone .
For obvious reasons, her music has often been targeted by right-wing trolls. Back in 2013, during her appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” rapper-author Russell Brand argued in favor of song titles like “Hello” and “Someone Like You” because of the tone of Adele’s lyrics. These included: “I once had a friend who was in the industry… she lived in a big house that belonged to a famous person/All she ate were her own Aldi platters.”
Brand suggested that the stories of being abused and sometimes kidnapped were unlikely to inspire other people to write songs about those traumatic experiences. That Adele would soon change people’s perceptions about what music artists could say was evident when she sang her own 2010 hit “Rolling in the Deep” at the Brit Awards in 2011: it received roaring acclaim for its message of female empowerment.
That momentum can only be shifted forward with media focus.
Very few artists have caught this. Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” became an instant hit in the UK after its release in 1986 — what made it so important was that it consisted of only that title. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Lana Del Rey recorded “Video Games” in the summer of 2010 but there is no trace of that album among her many hits. Indeed, those ubiquitous whispers of anything having a pop at Beyonce have been almost exclusively created by the realm of pop music sites.
Adele’s press control
It is not limited to pop that we have been treated to this interesting dichotomy in the past year. At the very beginning of 2016, Adele released her fourth album “25” which, in a strange journalistic twist, went immediately on sale.
Apparently Adele’s control of the narrative, and her media acumen, have resulted in a minimum of advertising for her new project: the album went on sale with little discussion, even when told to fans on her Facebook page that the reissue would feature bonus material.
But according to Entertainment Weekly, the album has been available to buy since August 21 in the UK. On the same day, a song called “When We Were Young” was released and the answer to what the question was always supposed to be on the album — “who’s that voice from?” — was answered, and the riddle was solved.
This idea of “behind the scenes” public relations also makes sense in a world where there is so much content created online. For example, in 2011, “Blurred Lines” was being talked about a year before its release.
But “Hello” is not the sort of thing that is going to go viral immediately (or at all) on YouTube: it is the sort of thing that will be overshadowed, outshone or replaced by so many other things happening simultaneously.
In the final analysis, the illusion of online buzz goes in cycles. A “new” release would need a large run of social media awareness (which a record label like Warner will be advocating) or a television ad campaign (which, again, may be orchestrated by a team) to create a large and permanent cultural impact. And just as this will be the time that Adele embarks on her next sales drive, her interviews are expected to pick up pace in 2017.
But just as often, it is a moment when the Internet or the public at large becomes distracted by what is happening elsewhere. It may be useful to turn our attention to the other alternative a moment like this offers — music that is the same but different.
Think of that, instead of “Hello.” It’s something that Adele was talking about when she explained that she wants to use her songs to help people “put their anger, their pain, their everything into music.”
The character that plays Adam is obsessed with making music with phrases like “he loves her despite the hate I hate for her” and “I know how good I am in them.” She does not complain that people are not on her wavelength. Adele knows that the idea is “very physical and very feminine”, she told the New York Times in 2015, and what she is doing is “therapeutic in a way.”
But for me, and for most people, “Hello” is no more a song about a former lover than “Hide