The Bottom Line
If anyone had questions whether Adele could find an adequate follow up to her massive hit "Rolling In the Deep," then "Someone Like You" has answered them. At heart it is a simple piano ballad, but even a somewhat distracted hearing of the lyrics will tell you this woman's heart is broken even though she is working hard to heal. Romantic pain has rarely been so utterly beautiful. Adele has set the standard for "Someone Like You" with live performances, but the studio version is of very high quality as well.
- Heartbreaking lyrics
- Beautiful piano melody
- Impassioned vocal delivery
- Studio version feels a bit rushed
- Written by Adele and Dan Wilson
- Produced by Dan Wilson
- Released August 2011 by Columbia Records
Guide Review - Adele - "Someone Like You"
The story of the failed relationship that inspired Adele's album 21 has been widely covered and publicized. She was in love with an older man age 30 and thought they would get married. However, that turned out to not be the case and they endured a bitter breakup. When she received the news that he was engaged to another woman, she wrote "Someone Like You." It is her attempt to write something positive in the wake of the breakup. There is the sound of some healing beginning here, but the song is also heartbreaking.
Adele took the unfinished "Someone Like You" to Dan Wilson of the band Semisonic. Dan Wilson already owns a Grammy Award for Song of the Year earned co-writing the Dixie Chicks' "Not Ready To Make Nice" and a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song writing Semisonic's "Closing Time." It would be no surprise if he is in the running for Grammy Awards again with "Someone Like You." The piano melody is gorgeous and combined with Adele's heartfelt reading of her words, the effect is highly emotional. She apologizes for re-entering the life of the past love with hopes that she is not forgotten while wishing him all the best. Emotions are laid bare with some hope for true, lasting love in the future, but Adele sings that it will be in the arms of someone like the lover she lost.
The studio recorded album version of "Someone Like You" is quite powerful, but Adele has shown now that live is how the song truly shines and inspires goosebumps. The production of the original studio version feels slightly rushed and, compared with the live interpretations, Adele has not quite yet dug deeply into the emotion she can wring out of the song. This is a minor complaint, and "Someone Like You" is one of the top songs of 2011, but if you are a fan of "Someone Like You," you owe it to yourself to see a live performance.