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“Someone Like You” by Adele

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song info

    “Someone Like You” by Adele (official video) is an R&B and pop song.

    Song Title: Someone Like You (official video)
    Artist: Adele
    Album: 21
    Genre: R&B, pop, adult contemporary, soul
    Composer: Copyright © 2010 Adele, Dan Wilson
    Lead Vocals: Adele Adkins
    Piano: Dan Wilson
    Producer: Adele, Dan Wilson
    Recorded: 2010 Harmony Studios in West Hollywood, California
    Engineer: Philip Allen
    Mixer: Tom Elmhirst; assistant mixer: Dan Parry
    Mastering: Tom Coyne
    Released: 24 January 2011
    Label: XL
    Number of listens: 21143

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    Summary quotation from Wikipedia:

    “Someone like You” is a song by English singer-songwriter Adele written by Adele and Dan Wilson for her second studio album 21. The pop and soul song was inspired by a broken relationship, and lyrically it speaks of Adele coming to terms with it. XL Recordings released the song as the second single from the album on 24 January 2011 in the United Kingdom and on 9 August 2011 in the United States. Accompanied only by a piano in the song (played by co-writer Wilson), Adele sings about the end of the relationship with her ex-boyfriend. The song received positive reviews from music critics who chose the song as a highlight of the album and praised the lyrics, its simple sound and Adele’s vocal performance.

    Following a well-received performance of the song at the 2011 BRIT Awards, “Someone like You” became Adele’s first number one single in the United Kingdom and it stayed on the top of the chart for five weeks. The song also topped the charts in Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, Italy, France and Switzerland, and has become Adele’s second number one in the United States. With that achievement Adele became the first female British solo singer in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have two number ones from the same album. In July 2011, it became the first single of the decade to sell a million units in the United Kingdom and it was certified Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), as well as being certified 5x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in the United States.

    An accompanying music video for the song was directed by Jake Nava and filmed in Paris, France. The video showed Adele walking alone through the streets with a sad look on her face. Critics praised the video for being simple and perfect for the sound of the song. Adele performed the song on several award and television shows including the 2011 BRIT Awards, 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She added the song on the set list of her second tour Adele Live. The live performances of the song were heavily praised by music critics and fans. The song was covered by multiple artists and groups, including Katy Perry, Taio Cruz, the cast of the series Glee, and several other artists.

    It was voted third most favourite single of the last 60 years in the UK with Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” voted number 2 and Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” as number 1, in a list voted for by the public in conjunction with The Official Charts Company’s 60th anniversary. “Someone like You” is the 42nd best-selling single in the history of the UK Singles Chart. As a critically successful song, “Someone like You” appeared on many year-end lists about the best songs of 2011. “Someone like You” was the first recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance, at the 54th Grammy Awards, held on 12 February 2012. In 2013, it became the most downloaded digital single of all-time in the UK.

Writing and inspiration

    “Someone like You” was written and produced by Adele and American songwriter and producer Dan Wilson. It was one of the last written for 21. The track, which epitomizes the lyrical content of 21, summarizes the now defunct relationship that the record is all about. Adele has openly discussed the genesis of it saying, “Well, I wrote that song because I was exhausted from being such a bitch, with ‘Rolling in the Deep’ or ‘Rumour Has It’ … I was really emotionally drained from the way I was portraying him, because even though I’m very bitter and regret some parts of it, he’s still the most important person that’s ever been in my life, and ‘Someone like You,’ I had to write it to feel OK with myself and OK with the two years I spent with him. And when I did it, I felt so freed.”

    Adele had said that she began writing it on her acoustic guitar in the wake of the break-up of her 18-month relationship with the 30-year old man she thought she would marry. A few months after their split he was engaged to someone else. “We were so intense I thought we would get married. But that was something he never wanted… So when I found out he does want that with someone else, it was just the horrible-est feeling ever. But after I wrote it, I felt more at peace. It set me free… I didn’t think it would resonate… with the world! I’m never gonna write a song like that again. I think that’s the song I’ll be known for.” She also said that “I wrote that song on the end of my bed. I had a cold. I was waiting for my bath to run. I’d found out that he’d got engaged to someone else.”

    Adele revealed that she was struggling emotionally when she composed it: “When I was writing it I was feeling pretty miserable and pretty lonely, which I guess kind of contradicts ‘Rolling in the Deep’. Whereas that was about me saying, ‘I’m going to be fine without you’, this is me on my knees really.” She discussed further the inspiration of the song: “I can imagine being about 40 and looking for him again, only to turn up and find that he’s settled with a beautiful wife and beautiful kids and he’s completely happy… and I’m still on my own. The song’s about that and I’m scared at the thought of that.”

Recording and composition

    Adele later collaborated with famed musician and producer Dan Wilson on completing “Someone like You” which was one of the final songs composed for the album. Prior to meeting with Wilson, Adele said she wrote some of the lyrics using her acoustic guitar. The two sat around the piano for two days and brainstormed various melodies and lyrics, and ultimately decided to keep the musical production sparse: “We just wrote it on the piano and then we recorded it when it was written. It wasn’t sort of like recording it and listening to it thinking ‘where can we go next?’ It was really old school.” During an interview with Billboard, Wilson stated that while writing the song, they wanted to make it as personal as possible. He added “We didn’t try to make it open-ended so it could apply to ‘anybody.’ We tried to make it as personal as possible. She may not have had a melodic hook or a specific lyrical idea, but she always knew what she wanted to say. She definitely had a master plan.” The song was recorded at Harmony Studios in West Hollywood, California with Wilson playing piano. Philip Allen engineered in the studio. The mixing was done by Tom Elmhirst and Dan Parry while the mastering was finished by Tom Coyne.

    “[…] ‘Someone like You,’ the stirring, somber closer in which Adele goes to visit a former love (with high hopes of a reconciliation), only to discover he has not only moved on with his life, but is in a much better place. And though she’s heartbroken, she puts on a brave face, stubbornly proclaiming she’ll find someone just like him, even if she knows that she never will. And that conclusion makes you ache not only because it’s so daunting, but because it’s so real. We’ve all felt that way, tried to trick ourselves into thinking that any other outcome was possible. In Adele’s music, much like life, there are no happy endings.”
    — James Montgomery of MTV News talking about “Someone like You”.
    According to sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony Music Publishing, “Someone like You” is a pop and soul song with a slow tempo of 67 beats per minute. Written in common time, the song is in the key of A major. Adele’s vocal range spans from F♯3 to E5 during the song. A slow, plaintive ballad pairing Adele’s voice with a looping piano line, “Someone like You” is the lyrical opposite of “Rolling in the Deep” on which the singer narrates coming to terms with the end of the relationship: “Nevermind, I’ll find someone like you/I wish nothing but the best for you, too/Don’t forget me, I beg/I’ll remember you said/Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.” According to Sean Fennessey of The Village Voice, the singer’s “nuanced” voice goes up a full octave and “into a near-shrieked whisper” as she sings parts of the chorus. However, she “rebounds and gathers herself”, and her voice descends into its fuller and more melancholy state. Critics praised its introspective lyrics and maturity. “Someone like You” has been compared to the song “Hometown Glory” (2008) from the album 19. John Murphy of MusicOMH said that the song “casts Adele as the spurned lover, turning up outside her ex’s house, now moved on and settled down, begging for a second chance.” According to Aamir Yaqub of Soul Culture, “Talking of a lost love, this an extremely touching track with a vocal performance that makes the narrative almost tangible … It really captures the experience of the story and puts it across in both a credible and incredible fashion.” Camreon Adams of Herald Sun called the song a “spine-tingling sparse piano ballad.”

    Lyrically, the song talks about the end of Adele’s first “real relationship” with her long-time friend and lover and it shows her confronting his marriage. At the beginning of the song, she sings the lines “I heard that you’re settled down/That you found a girl and you’re married now. I heard that your dreams came true/Guess she gave you things I couldn’t give to you” with a softly voice and accompanied just by a simple piano melody. The lyrics of “Someone like You” are talking about what once was and what could have been as stated by a writer of Daily Herald. Finding the strength to bounce back from hardship and heartache, Adele sings the lines, “Never mind, I’ll find someone like you. I wish nothing but the best for you, too/Don’t forget me, I beg, I remember you said/Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.” Talking about the meaning and the composition of the song, Jer Fairall of PopMatters said: “The song’s subject—Adele mentally addressing an old lover who has since found happiness elsewhere—is familiar, but the detail she colors it with are vibrantly tactile and resonant, from the sense-memory setting of ‘we were born and raised in a summer haze’ to her recollection of his cruel kiss-off line ‘I remember you said, ’sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead’’ and how she comes to take solace in the statement as an empowering mantra.”

Music video

    On 27 September 2011, it was reported that the music video for the song was already filmed in Paris, France and it was directed by English director Jake Nava. Several black-and-white pictures which showed Adele “gazing out over a river against a cloudy backdrop” were also posted. Later, the same day, MTV posted a 30-second preview of the video which showed Adele slowly walking on a road. Talking about the video, Nava said, “The location evokes style and romance. And shooting early in the morning allows you to focus on Adele in this lonely and emotional space.” The video premiered on 29 September at 7:56 p.m. EST on MTV and Vevo. The video begins with a shot of a road in Paris and Adele is seen walking on it alone. She continues to walk and starts singing the song with a sad look as the camera makes circles and shots more locations in Paris including the Eiffel Tower. During the second chorus, Adele stops singing and pauses on the Pont Alexandre III to look over the Seine. She continues walking alone through the streets during the bridge before finally entering a building in which she sees her ex-lover. After seeing her, he starts to walk away and several shots of Adele looking at him follow.

    James Montgomery of MTV News called the video “a somber, black-and-white affair, featuring Adele wandering the early morning streets and pining for her long-lost love. It’s a perfect match for the song’s jaw-dropping emotional range—raw and unfiltered and incredibly sad but also, in a lot of ways, beautiful and resolute.” In another review of the video he praised its black-and-white shots saying that “director Jake Nava made the smart decision to shoot it in arty, smudgy black-and-white, which only adds to the clip’s desolate, haunted feel.” He added that “there are no special effects, no camera tricks or elaborate choreography, because those are quick fixes” and called Adele the “Queen of Pain.” A writer of the website HitFix concluded that the video is “in keeping with the singer’s subdued style” and added that its vibe fits with the “melancholy tune.” Entertainment Weekly’s Tanner Stransky called the video “quiet” and said that “it’s just what you’d want to see for this break-up heart-wrencher.” Krista Wick of Entertainment Tonight praised the video for being “more than enough to accompany Adele’s soulful vocals.”

    Amanda Dobbins of New York magazine concluded that “the secretly devastating video” for “Someone Like You” will remind Adele’s ex-lover what he has done by leaving her. A writer of The Huffington Post praised the simplicity and the sadness in the video. Sarah Dean of the same publication called it an “uncomplicated, moving film” and wrote, “the video is nothing more than Adele wandering around the deserted city of love alone, under its grey skies, singing her sorrowful notes, but because it’s her, we don’t need any more.” That was somehow echoed by Jason Lipshutz of Billboard magazine who said that the video was “simply constructed as the song’s vocal-and-piano arrangement.” Marc Hogan of Spin said that the scene in which Adele looks in the camera, “speak[s] for itself” about the sadness in the video. Andrew Matson of The Seattle Times said, “the song of the year now has a simple, perfect video: Adele in Paris, singing and strolling, apparently processing the breakup detailed in the song’s lyrics. The look on her face during the ‘I wish nothing but the best for you’ line is the best, just gutting, a real achievement how she plays it cold but not sarcastic. I think in times of emotional devastation, everyone wants stand on a bridge over the Seine on a cold day, squinting into the wind, sorting it out.”

    A writer of Rolling Stone wrote: “this clip for the ballad ‘Someone Like You’ sticks to the singer’s simple but emotionally direct approach with black and white footage that lingers on her subtly expressive face as she lip-synchs to the tune while walking along sad, grey city streets.” Andrea Devaro of Long Island Press concluded, “its simplicity beautifully portrays the complexity of emotions invoked in the song.” Leah Collins of Dose called Adele “’60s bombshell glam” and said that the video’s “simplicity is its strength.” She added: “There’s something about streetlamps, cafes and the River Seine that lend an air of melancholic elegance to what would otherwise be just another walk of shame by a girl with two-day-old hair. Not everyone gets to indulge in moments as tragic but beautiful as a weepy solitary walk through Paris landmarks. But then, we don’t all have voices as tragic and beautiful as Adele’s either.” A more mixed review was given by AOL’s Ashley Percival who called the video predictable and added “It’s all very pleasant, but after all this time, what’s the point?”. Nicole Eggenberger of OK! wrote that Adele “created the perfect music video to go along with her hauntingly beautiful ballad” and further described it as “simple yet stunning.”

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