There are a small handful of artists who can announce a new album with the surprise release of a new single and video that will capture the entire world’s attention immediately. Most of them are known by one name: Beyonce, Kanye, Taylor, Drake. And Adele might well be the queen of that lineup. Her most recent album, 2011’s 21, was the sort of smash the record industry rarely sees anymore, selling more than 20 million copies in the U.S. and Europe, and shattering records set at a time when the music world worked very differently.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that everyone is listening to “Hello” this morning, the first single from her forthcoming album, 25. “Hello” is the sort of emotive power ballad that’s essentially synonymous with Adele’s name. The video–shot in a wistful sepia tone–tells the lost-love story through a series of first-person flashbacks looking at the one who got away, played by The Wire’s Tristan Wilds. As Adele belts out lines like “hello from the other side / I must have called a thousand times,” we get a look at the relationship that went from joyful to heartbreaking, and the day-to-day routine that’s so difficult once that’s over–setting the kettle, picking up the phone, staring mournfully out the window.
Directed by Xavier Dolan (who also helmed the Cannes Jury Prize winner Mommy) and intercut with visuals like lonely British phone booths sitting out in the woods and tearful people walking alone in the rain, the video provides a visual interpretation of a song that’ll sound awfully good on your speakers as you cry alone in the shower over the next few months.