Performer: "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" is currently at #1 on the Adult Pop Songs chart. Adele has had four songs at #1 on the Hot 100, including "Hello" (from the same album).
Writers: Adele, Max Martin, Shellback. Max Martin and Shellback also cowrote/produced Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling," which was the subject of last week's post.
Title: Whoa. Parenthesis. This title swings the pendulum way back from the current one-word title trend. Seeing the title made me expect a retro R&B feel to the song, which turns out to be not at all the feeling of the song or the style of the arrangement. This is a good example of how important titles can be in setting our expectations for the song.
Structure: Verse / Chorus / Verse / Chorus / Bridge / Chorus / Chorus Outro
Points of Interest:
1) I'm a little confused by the addition of the "Just the guitar, okay, cool" line tacked onto the beginning of the song. Studio banter is nothing new for sure. It can be a cool effect for the listener, to peek behind the curtain in the studio for a moment and have a sense of the vibe in the studio, and the personalities of the performers. I can't say I've ever heard a radio single include studio banter, though. And the clip here is so short, so quiet, and so cleanly produced, that I don't really get a sense of vibe or personality. To put a cherry on top of my confusion, the song starts with a guitar and kick drum together, and bass comes in shortly after, so it's not "just the guitar" after all.
2) A pop song without a four-on-the-floor beat? Yes, it's possible, and it's refreshing. Two of the song's strongest features are the vocal rhythms and the vocal melodies, both of which have some room to breathe with the slightly less overbearing kick drum.
3) The chorus is technically eight lines, but it's really only four lines repeated twice. The exact repeat may make the song singable faster for the listener, but it also sacrifices some focus from the title. A more traditional way to approach a chorus like this would be to rearrange the last four lines so that the title is in the last line; then you have the main idea bookending the chorus. Another possibility would be to change the title to "We Ain't Kids No More," which isn't as good a title, but seems closer to the main idea of the song.
4) The same music from the chorus continues through the bridge, which gives the bridge more of a breakdown feel, without the actual breakdown of the music. The slightly new lyrical content, which refers back to the first verse, gives the bridge more of a bridge feel. It's cool, and it leads beautifully to a tense/climactic break in the music, just before the final two chorus iterations.