When Adele announced her hiatus from music back in 2012, she was already leaving behind a legacy of 10 Top-100 hits. The 3-year wait proved to be worth it as Hello is her first single ever to debut at number one and only the 24th of any artist to ever do so. In addition to that, the song’s video broke the Vevo record for the shortest time to attain 100 million views.
The track is co-written and produced by American artist Greg Kurstin of the Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) and The Fear fame. Working with Kurstin made Adele get over her writing block as she admitted to All Access: “This song was a massive breakthrough for me with my writing because it’d been pretty slow up to this point, and I felt after I worked with Greg Kurstin on this, it all poured right ouf of me.” In an interview with Mirror, she explained that the song’s message is universal as opposed to specific, “not about an ex-relationship, a love relationship” but “about my relationship with everyone that I love.” She also clarified the “hello from the other side” chorus as “just from the other side of becoming an adult”.
Critics’ reception was mostly favorable, although comparisons with her past singles were inevitable. Independent described Hello as Adele doing what she does best, “belting out emotional tales of love and loss much the same as with her last album, 21, but this time, with a little more self-forgiveness”. Digital Spy agreed that Hello is not a huge departure, but stated that that’s precisely what makes it powerful. Idolator felt Adele was off to a great start in following 21.
Hello spent 10 consecutive weeks at number one in Billboard Top 100 before being dethroned by Justin Bieber’s Sorry.