That Adele’s Hello might just be the hit song of the decade is not in question. She broke plenty of industry records, including becoming the first in the industry to achieve 1 billion YouTube views for the video in just three months of its uploading.

The streaming service announced Thursday that her music video for Hello greeted its 1 billionth view in 87 days, breaking the 158-day record held by Psy’s Gangnam Style. Via Daily Mail

The first video shot using IMAX cameras, “Hello” quickly beat out Taylor Swift’s record to become to most viewed video in a single day on Vevo, and the second-fastest video to hit 100 million views on YouTube. French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan (Mommy) shot the six-minute work of art, with Jannie McInnes serving as executive producer. Via Entertainment Weekly

adele 25
Image Courtesy of YouTube

It’s no surprise that Hello retained its No.1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks straight.To add to that, her album, 25, sold over 800,307 copies in the first week, giving Adele the fastest rate in reaching the two million album sales mark.

So why does this particular song stand out from the rest? Is it because it’s actually special, or is it as a result of the serious hype that surrounded its release? Who better to answer these questions than the music experts themselves…

We asked the experts what they thought… David Rees of Dave Conservatoire, Ethan Hein of NYU’s Music Experience Design Lab, Christopher Sutton of Musical U, Daniel Müllensiefen of the Music, Mind, and Brain research group at the University of London, and music informatics researcher Matthias Mauch… Via Easy Ear Training

Here are the 4 main things that these experts agree shot ‘Hello’ to the very top:

The voice

Adele live
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia

Adele’s voice is undeniably her most vital asset, drawing listeners into her songs and putting tears in their eyes.

If you applied a musical 80/20 analysis to this song I think you’d have to conclude that the vocals are 80% of what makes the song special. Replace any other musical component and you’d still have a decent song, but replace the vocals and there’s really not much left. Adele’s voice is broad in its tone and she has a timbre that sounds “high definition” compared to some of the simpler-sounding pop voices out there. Via Easy Ear Training

Emotional appeal

If you can ignore critics that claim Hello normalizes sexual harassment for a  moment, you’ll agree that Adele’s songs have the uncanny ability to appeal to the listener’s need for deep intimacy with his or her partner. She tells a sad story in such a way as to cause you to empathize with her predicament. She also tells her stories in ways that auger well with audiences of all ages.

The song revolves around the same four chords, but, rather cleverly, in two different orders for the verse and chorus, respectively (don’t let Wikipedia tell you otherwise). This can be repetitive but it’s broken up twice in the song, just before the verse leads into the chorus. I like that, especially the second time when it goes together with the lyrics “it’s no secret that the both of us are running out of time”. Via Easy Ear Training

Adele Hello video
Image Courtesy of YouTube

Chord progression

Remarkably, Hello is a four-chord song. Although the order changes a little as the verse flows into the chorus, it’s these four chords that make up the song’s base. The vital lesson that any aspiring musician would do well to learn from Adele is that it’s not just the complex harmonies that create hits.

Adele’s material is soulful enough to grab you emotionally, and conservative enough not to scare away any major listening constituency. The overall feel is retro enough for your parents, yet current enough for tweens. There’s no profanity, no street slang, and no hard-edged drum machines or synths. Via Easy Ear Training

A hungry fan base

Adele had taken a four-year hiatus from the music scene. This after releasing hits like ‘Someone like you’, another fan favorite that left audiences wanting more of her music.

Since I heard about the song’s success before I listened to it I can’t say whether I would have predicted quite how successful it’s been solely from listening. On balance I don’t think I would have. It’s certainly a remarkable and memorable song but I feel that the raving fanbase and launch marketing must have also been significant factors in its phenomenal success. Via Easy Ear Training

Hello Adele video
Image Courtesy of YouTube

The argument here is that the song would have done well without the hype, but the hype was definitely a contributing factor to the broken records it has left in its wake. By and large, the experts agree that the song’s success has more to do with it being a great song than the hype surrounding it. What’s your verdict?

Featured Image: Image Credit

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Adele’s “Hello” Isn’t About an Ex-Boyfriend — It’s About Herself

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Judging from Adele’s other work, the obvious answer would seem to be an ex-boyfriend. It’s theoretically in the same vein as songs like “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep” from 21, her second album. The video for the song, directed by Canadian Xavier Dolan, supports this narrative, casting Tristan Wilds, who starred in The Wire and 90210, as Adele’s ex-boyfriend. Via Music Mic


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Notably, the song (which earns Greatest Gainer honors) tops the tally in just its fourth week, marking the quickest climb to No. 1 for a non-holiday song since Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” reached the summit in just its third week in 1997. The two ballads are the only non-seasonal songs to crown AC in four or fewer weeks since the chart adopted Nielsen Music data in 1993. Via BillBoard


Adele’s “Hello” Is a Smash Hit. But Why?

houston pressAccording to a few press releases this week and the usual Internet chatter, Adele’s new single, “Hello,” was played more than one million times per hour in the two days following its release last Friday. The question is…why?
The query shouldn’t be read with the snark that has become a blog thing. I’m not deaf or an imbecile (at least, I know for certain I am not deaf), so this isn’t misguidedly trying to argue against the UK singer’s awesome vocal abilities or proven knack for performing songs that capture the public’s interest. If you want that sort of loose-screwed logic, go read this. Via Houston Press