By now, you know Adele’s “Hello.” You know it. You’ve watched the video on repeat. You’ve sobbed tears of joy in reaction to her impossibly amazing talent, and tears of sorrow for your past relationships that didn’t work out. You’ve shared it on Facebook with an emphatic YAAAAAAS! You’ve heavily debated the cameo of a certain flip phone, circa 2004.
But what if the singer’s best original song yet wasn’t original at all? What if it was plagiarized from another artist? Tom Waits fans are accusing Adele of copying one of his songs, pointing to “Martha” on his 1973 album Closing Time. Let’s compare the two.
First, let’s take a listen to “Martha.”
Hello, hello there, is this Martha? This is old Tom Frost
And I am calling long distance, don’t worry ‘bout the cost
‘Cause it’s been forty years or more, now Martha please recall
Meet me out for coffee, where we’ll talk about it all
Now let’s listen to “Hello.”
Hello, it’s me
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet
To go over everything
They say that time’s supposed to heal ya, but I ain’t done much healing
What do you think? The internet is split down the middle. Some believe Adele’s been listening to too much Tom Waits, while others think the comparison is a little farfetched. Personally, we don’t think any one artist can own the word “hello.” That’s like saying Adele plagiarized Taylor Swift by singing about past relationships. But that’s just us. Yes, there are parallels in story beats in the opening verse, but these songs are also very much their own things. Tom is so very Tom in “Martha” and Adele could not be more Adele in “Hello.” We definitely live in a world in which two singers can say “Hello” over the phone to their exes in a song, you guys, that has to be allowed.
(Featured image via YouTube)