Hello, It’s a Stalker
Adele’s “Hello,” while beautiful acoustically, does not exhibit an image of a healthy individual, nor of a healthy relationship. What is on the surface a chant of purported apology is in fact a lamentation: the other, whoever they may be, has moved on.
Were the character of the singer properly sorrowful, and desiring to deliver a true apology for her actions, she would not lace her voice with accusation when she sings that it “doesn’t tear [them] apart anymore.” She says she’s sorry “for breaking [their] heart,” but it is not the other’s heart that broke. It is her own.
The other has moved on; she has not. She is not the one on “the other side;” rather, she lives in the relationship still every day. It is she who “must have called a thousand times.” It is the other who was “never home;” having moved on, they are the ones who are on the other side.
Such feelings as expressed in “Hello” do of course strike strong emotional chords: it is natural for one to feel such emotions in relationships, and many do. Such feelings themselves ought not be judged. However, the song does not present the emotions neutrally; rather, it glorifies them. The singer is not reflecting on how she feels, but rather, is attempting to force the other back into a relationship they no longer desire. The struggle to cope with these thoughts is real. But the actions of the singer — the calls, the feigned apologies — are poor examples to set; they are harrassment at best, stalking at worst.
It is concerning, then, that the song has gained such popularity. Its constant repetition by the populace normalizes the harmful behaviors exemplified by the singer’s character—who, while possibly fictional and not necessarily Adele herself, still works her way into society’s psyche. What should be wish fulfillment for those longing to reconnect (but knowing they likely never will) becomes, after sufficient repetition, rationalization; even permission.
Perhaps the singer ought to wait for a few years before attempting to apologize, and when she does, should allow her apology to come from the heart.