Adele’s ‘Hello’ Video: Dusted-Over Rotary Phones Filmed in Cutting-Edge Fashion
Where decisive screaming matches or answering machine bomb-drops were once trusted tactics for breakup warfare, the landscape of lovers' quarrels has devolved into passive-aggressive waiting games. Now, smartphones and miniature keyboards are love's most effective assassins, and battlefield strategy has been reduced to staying silent for long enough to slowly bring your opponent to his knees.
But Adele, who probably couldn't tell an iOS from a POS, hasn't got time for mind games, and her brand new Xavier Dolan-directed video for 25's debut single, "Hello," is a potent reminder that a direct phone line is like an arrow through the heart—even when, like she broods in the tune, the intended target can't be bothered to lift the receiver from the hook.
The clip, a look back at romantic combat from the safety of the singer's hideout, finds her and The Wire's Tristan Wilds splitting time firing shells and drafting peace treaties. He wages war through a rain-soaked screaming match, she later dials his line in an attempt to reconcile. And though some shouts fall on deaf ears, and a handful of calls go unanswered, there is no ambiguity, no time wasted staring at a screen, no naively hoping a solution will manifest. For better or worse, and no matter the risk to their respective battalions, the ex-couple sticks to face-to-face talks, rounds of conversation on a rotary system and occasional flip-phone consultations to reach their story's end.
And while the sight of "Hello" centers on dusted-over communication relics (its heroine sorts through a collection of handwritten notes, stumbles upon an abandoned payphone in the woods), it's conversely filmed in cutting-edge fashion. The black-and-white story, while not ostensibly so different from the grainy "Someone Like You," includes the very first music video footage captured with IMAX cameras. So while Adele might need a match to prepare her tea on a gaslight stove (it's an old model with no ignition switch), the clarity of her strike is the product of technology. "Hello" is a collection of old concepts thrust into a new light: the foxtrot at a downtown dance club, Clams Casino at Le Cirque.
Still, while the story's correspondence is exchanged more exactly, and there's a romance in watching Adele fight against her relationship's corrosion, the city is still destined to burn. Nostalgia won't save the couple and antiquity won't spare them: For all their efforts, they, like their unlimited data-planned peers, will still fall to pieces...albeit, a little more beautifully.
Check out the video above, and share all "Hello"-related thoughts below.
See these artists when their first albums were released, and today: