10 of Adele's best songs ranked: from 'Someone Like You' to 'Hometown Glory'

One of the world's best-selling music artists is set to return with a new single on October 15

'Rolling in the Deep' singer Adele has sold more than 120 million records worldwide so far
Powered by automated translation

After six long years, record-breaking singer Adele is back, with a preview of her first new music since the 2015 Grammy Award-winning album 25.

The British singer shared a 20-second black-and-white trailer for new single Easy On Me on social media on Tuesday, along with the release date October 15, sending fans into a tizzy. The Instagram post has been liked more than 12 million times in less than 24 hours.

In the clip, Adele pops a tape bearing the song title Easy On Me into a car cassette player. She then glances in the rearview mirror and turns up the volume before soft piano notes start playing in the background and she's seen driving down a road, with sheets of music flying out of the back seat.

The announcement comes days after Adele changed the profile picture and mastheads on her social media channels to a blurred teal image, which caused her name to trend worldwide as eager fans waited for an announcement.

The artwork matched a number of mysterious billboards that appeared in major cities around the world, including in Dubai, bearing the number 30.

Adele is known to name her albums – 19, 21 and 25 – after her age during a pivotal year in her life. The singer, now 33, separated from her now ex-husband Simon Konecki when she was 30.

Her website now bears the same font and colour scheme that has been seen on the billboards, with fans able to sign up for a newsletter. No official confirmation of an album has yet been announced.

The frenzy is not unexpected. As one of the world's bestselling music artists, Adele has sold more than 120 million records. She has won more Grammys than any other female singer who was born outside the US, with her third album, 25, winning six Grammys in 2017 including Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album and its lead single Hello earning Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

In March, Adele was recognised as the UK’s bestselling female artist of the century so far, topping a list compiled by the British Phonographic Industry, ahead of some of the world's top artists including Beyonce, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. The list took into account the number of albums sold by artists since the year 2000, while also including streaming data.

Ahead of her long-awaited musical return, here is our ranking of 10 Adele songs so far:

10. 'Hometown Glory'

The song that started it all. Adele reportedly wrote her debut single in 10 minutes when she was 16, after her mother tried to persuade her to leave her home for university. Released in 2007, it was the lead single for her debut studio album, 19.

"I played it to her as a protest song and said this is why I'm staying," she told Observer Music Monthly.

An ode to her south London hometown, the piano-heavy sentimental ballad showcases Adele's vocal range and proved to be her perfect introduction to the world of music, which she would go on to rule.

9. 'When We Were Young'

Another Adele classic, When We Were Young's soulful musical style and sentimental lyrics perfectly showcases the singer's musical heft. A slow-burner that builds up to a powerful climax, the song, which Adele co-wrote with Canadian musician Tobias Jesso Jr, is at once gentle and powerful.

Released as the second single after Hello from the album 25, Adele told BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw that When We Were Young was her favourite track off the album, also sharing that her favourite lyric on the track is "You look like a movie / You sound like a song / My god this reminds me of, when we were young."

8. 'Water Under the Bridge'

Although it's her lowest-charting single from 25, the song, which Adele co-wrote with producer Greg Kurstin, eventually became the third bestselling song from the album, according to Billboard music magazine.

Despite it not being a typical Adele song with its disco-pop vibes, the singer infuses the mid-tempo tune with the same vocal finesse that fans have come to love her for, making the song a standout.

7. 'Cold Shoulder'

At the beginning of her career, Adele faced unfair comparisons with the great Amy Winehouse, and this song, produced by frequent Winehouse collaborator Mark Ronson, didn't do much to dispel that correlation.

But on its own, the upbeat tempo and silky guitar riffs juxtaposed with Adele's striking lyrics and soulful vocals earns this song a place as one of her very best works.

6. 'Rumour Has it'

A catchy, fun tune with bluesy vibe, Adele proves she's adept at heart-wrenching ballads as well as stomping pop anthems with this number from her second album 21.

Rumour Has It is a "bluesy/soul anthem which shows a more sassy side to Adele", MTV UK wrote in its review of the song. The song's popularity increased after a mash-up of Adele's Someone Like You and Rumour Has It was performed by the cast of hit TV show Glee. OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder co-wrote the song with Adele.

5. 'Hello'

One of Adele's biggest hits ever, the record-breaking song and first single from 25 marked the singer's return to the top of the charts with a bang. A song about nostalgia and regret, Adele's smoky voice perfectly compliments its coming-of-age theme slowly building into a crescendo that only she can achieve, leaving the listener in awe.

She told Rolling Stone magazine that the line "Hello from the other side" signifies "the other side of becoming an adult, making it out alive from your late teens, early twenties".

The song broke the record for shortest time to reach a billion YouTube views and went on to win Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards.

4. 'Someone Like You'

Arguably one of her most popular songs, the ballad's understated arrangement and Adele's flawless vocals ensured its global success, not least helped by a viral performance at the Brit Awards in 2011.

Someone Like You, from the album 21, spent many weeks at No 1 in many countries. It was the second bestselling single of 2010 and the third-bestseller of the 21st century, according to the Official Charts Company.

"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," Adele told entertainment website Digital Spy about the songwriting process.

3. 'Chasing Pavements'

Considered one of her best songs ever by some critics, Adele wrote Chasing Pavements after she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her.

"I went to the pub [where he was] and punched him in the face," she recounted to Rolling Stone. "I got thrown out, and as I was running away, the phrase 'chasing pavements' came to me."

The mellow song from the album 19 was a hit in the UK initially and then soon began to receive massive airplay in the US. Adele would go on to win Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the song at the Grammy Awards in 2009, the first of many wins that would follow.

2. 'Make You Feel My Love'

Considered a "modern standard", Bob Dylan's song has been performed by some of the world's biggest artists and recorded more than 450 times, according to Rolling Stone magazine. But Adele imbues this melancholic but uplifting love song with such heart and soul that it easily stands out as one of her best.

The only cover song in her debut album, 19, Adele told Premiere Networks she was apprehensive about including the song at first.

"My manager is the biggest Dylan fan, and for ages, he'd been bugging me to listen to the song, because I hadn't heard it before. I was being quite defiant against it. I said, 'I don't want a cover on my album. It kind of implies that I'm incapable of writing enough of my own songs for my first record'," she recalled.

"And then I heard it in New York when he played it for me, and it just really touched me. It's cheesy, but I think it's just a stunning song, and it really just summed up everything that I'd been trying to write in my songs.

1. 'Rolling in the Deep'

The opening track of 21, this gospel-tinged bluesy song has Adele's signature all over, with vocals that can easily send chills up the spine.

Rolling in the Deep was also Adele's first No 1 song in the US, and spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. At the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, it won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video while the Rolling Stone ranked it at No 8 on its list of The 100 Greatest Songs of the 21st Century.

Adele wrote the song with English musician Paul Epworth, as "a reaction to being told that my life was going to be boring and lonely and rubbish, and that I was a weak person if I didn't stay in the relationship," her biographer Caroline Sanderson told The Independent newspaper.

Adele told the Calgary Sun that she approached Epworth after having a fight with her ex-boyfriend.

"The morning I started my first session with Paul Epworth, the night before I broke up with my boyfriend, who the album's about, I was so upset, I was so angry," she said. "I was telling Paul, 'Oh Paul, let's write a ballad. That's all I ever do!' And he was like, 'Absolutely not! I want to write a fierce tune.'"

Updated: October 11, 2021, 5:34 AM