Music — December 9, 2015 13:45 — 0 Comments

Adele’s Hello Video

Adele’s “Hello” has, at the time of this writing, 651,735,775 views on YouTube (and inspired this SNL video with nearly 12,000,000 views). That means millions of people have had their heart broken and turned, just in the last few weeks, to Adele to feel their pain again. Adele has proven herself over the last handful of years to be the best breakup songwriter in the world and has brought more tears to eyes than sliced onions. To help process the heartfelt tone and tenor of “Hello” I imagined what five halves of ex-couples must have gone through when seeing the video for the single. Below is what I imagined.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston

The line “I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet” runs through his head over and over. Of course, there are regrets. You can ignore the supermarket tabloids for a while, change channels for years, but the truth creeps in. Brad Pitt walks into the bathroom of his marble mansion and takes out an electric razor and runs it over his cheeks, chin, neck and parts of his chest. He’s handsome, yes, but getting older. There are lines around his eyes. When you’re older you think about what really matters. No longer lusting after flesh. No longer popularity and status on the mind. Just comfort, a type of lilting laughter. He had that with Jennifer. They’d lay in bed passing back a smoke. There was a time when the line, “Nevermind I’ll find someone like you” didn’t make him feel that terrible but then Adele had to go and write this new song and twist the knife. He goes to his bedroom, unlocks a drawer for which he alone has the key. He takes out a shoebox and looks at pictures of that perfect, sandy blond hair, while “Hello” again repeats.

Amy Poehler and Nick Kroll

Everyone said not to do it. They all said, You have two kids and you just broke up with a well-known man, a celebrity, why jump in bed with another? Besides, they cautioned, he was just using her to work his way up the ladder. Amy goes to her desk and opens her laptop and clicks on the bookmarked YouTube link. She hasn’t laughed in days. She watches the little car proceed up the dusty drive in the video and she waits for Adele’s eyes to open at the 1:15 minute mark. She melts at the ex-boyfriend’s beautiful brown eyes, that little boy from The Wire all grown up, she wants someone to make her spaghetti, she wants to be in a cabin with someone, running around like a kid in love. She hears a crash in the hallway, a picture frame has dropped from the wall, a child is crying. “I’m in California dreaming about who we used to be,” sings Adele. “When we were younger and free.” Forget him, Amy thinks, this crap is overrated.

Rihanna and Chris Brown

Rihanna has heard a lot of pop lyrics in her life but never such a bold rhyming of heart and apart. She turns her head toward her cellphone when she notices the worldplay and runs the song back. “I’m sorry for breaking your heart but it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore.” Rihanna has space from her breakup with Chris Brown, who notoriously abused her. Still, though, she knows she still has love for him. She’s admitted as much publically. First loves are hard to quit. Her heart isn’t broken like it was, but the stitches are still there. She has moved on. She has built a career. She has had new loves, new lovers. But first love. That’s the kind of love that saturates songs, birthday cards, memories. It’s what every other love is compared to. In this way, she weeps just briefly, she is still torn apart. She repeats “Hello” and hopes to write a song today.

Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield

Forget it, she thinks, you’re Emma Stone. You have the most beautiful eyes in Hollywood. The best movie of the year ended with your big beautiful blue eyes. You have the eyes of an angel. Fair skin, magazine covers, long luscious hair. Why are you thinking of that kid when you’re the object of affection of men everywhere. Still, it’s impossible to forget. The simple, nameless joy of seeing a body naked in the moonlight walking to the bathroom. To hear the stifled sigh of a man in your ear as you make love. He was kind. He had that New York accent, charm. Emma Stone puts “Hello” on mute when her phone rings. It’s a girlfriend asking if she wants to get a drink tonight. Okay, Emma Stone says, sure. When she hangs up she puts “Hello” on two more times, to remember what love felt like then.

Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt

The line that resonates with him is this: “At least I can say that I’ve tried to tell you I’m sorry.” She wanted children. Jon Hamm understands that. He also understands that everyone is going to say that once his series, Mad Men, was over, he of course left her. He is one of the most handsome men in the world, a movie star with shoe polish black hair and a jaw made from steel. They’d been together for decades, for lifetimes, it seems. They’d been in movies together; they’d climbed mountains and managed to get home safely past midnights. All this floods into his mind as he stands on the escalator and that stupid song comes on the airport speakers. He always misses her in airports. It’s the space when closeness, reliability, is most wanted. It’s where we feel most vulnerable.


Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

Leave a Reply

The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney