Adele is back with her first single in three years. “Hello,” a soaring new ballad that offers the first taste of the British singer’s highly anticipated third album, 25, debuted in the early hours of Oct. 23.
The chorus features Adele’s signature soaring vocals as she sings, “Hello from the other side / I must have called a thousand times / To tell you I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done.” Accompanied by a piano and drums for most of the track, which was produced by Greg Kurstin (Sia, Beyonce) and recorded at Metropolis Studios in London, orchestral bells and big, ambient synths fill out the sound during the song’s last, swelling act. Worth noting: Adele is credited with playing drums on the song.
The title is apt for a comeback song with such excitement behind it. Adele has been in something of a career hibernation since the birth of her first child in 2012. “Hello” is the Grammy winner’s first release since her 2012 recording “Skyfall” from the James Bond film of the same name reached No. 8 in the U.S. and No. 2 in the U.K. Though “Skyfall” was a one-off, a bridge between a four-year wait between albums.
That wait will officially come to an end Nov. 20 when Adele’s album 25 arrives. Adele announced the big news on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just days after publishing a Twitter letter in which she told her fans, “I’m sorry it took so long, but you know, life happened.” The singer has described 25 as a “make-up record,” more adult in theme and tone.
Listen to “Hello” below.
25 is the follow-up to the 2011 blockbuster 21, which spent 24 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart — the most weeks atop the list for any album by a female artist. The album has been on the chart every week of its release — 243 weeks and counting (through the Oct. 31-dated tally).
21 has sold 11.2 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music, which makes it the 10th-largest selling album since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991. It’s also the U.K.’s best-selling album of the millennium, according to a survey published in March by the Official Charts Company. 21 has shipped more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The album generated five hit singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including three consecutive No. 1s: “Rolling In the Deep” (No. 1 for seven weeks), “Someone Like You” (five weeks) and “Set Fire to the Rain” (two weeks).
Adele is signed to the British independent label XL Recordings, an affiliate of Martin Mills’ Beggars Group (Adele’s albums are released in the U.S. via Sony Music’s Columbia Records through a joint venture with XL).
The video for “Hello” was directed by Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan. Watch it below:
A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that “Hello” was recorded in Los Angeles.