Today's Song: "Someone Like You"
October 7, 2020
My All-Time Greatest Songs
By Songbook Volunteer: Dick Schwartz
Author's Note: This blog has its origin in my interest – maybe, obsession – with songs. It seems there is usually some song in my head at nearly any time. When I hear certain songs, I’ll sometimes think or say “Ooh! That’s one of my all-time favorites!” The range of my favorites is broad and diverse. These songs might be popular or obscure, from Broadway or the back roads, simple or complex, ballads or rockers.
I hope that you will enjoy my blogging exploration of contenders for my all-time-favorite songs and that you’ll be moved to consider and share your own favorites that have held a timeless presence in the soundtrack of your life, or rather, your own personal Songbook.
--- Enjoy! ---
Someone Like You
By Adele Adkins and Dan Wilson
Released January 24, 2011
I’m going contemporary with my next all-time favorite selection. The song is “Someone Like You.” The artist is Adele. Perhaps no other singer/songwriter of this era has been able to capture and communicate the emotions associated with love and loss as Adele.
Adele based the song “Someone Like You” on her own broken relationship and her coming to terms with it. She co-wrote the song with Dan Wilson, singer, songwriter, musician, producer, visual artist, and leader of the band Semisonic.
“Someone Like You” has a simple melody and arrangement with poignant lyrics that express emotions which are easy for listeners to identify with. The pauses, phrasing, and key changes reflect emotional turmoil. The pre-chorus (“I hate to turn up out of the blue, uninvited …”) is nine bars long instead of the usual eight. “That extra bar was like holding your breath a little too long before the chorus hit,” Dan Wilson explained.
Their songwriting and recording took only two days to complete. Other small tweaks included Adele adding “too” to the line “I wish nothing but the best for you.” Their spare demo recorded in those two days became the actual song as released without any additional orchestration.
The song won an overwhelming reception, achieving a rapid rise to Number One on popularity and sales charts worldwide. Billboard magazine reported that this was the first piano-and-vocal-only ballad to top the Hot 100 since it started the charts in 1958. “Someone Like You” was featured on Adele’s huge hit album “21” in 2011, following great success with her debut album “19” in 2008. “21” became the top selling album of 2011 and 2012. Its sales have passed 31 million.
When the “Songbook” of the 21st Century becomes evident, this is a song that will likely endure and make the cut. (However, unlike many beautiful contemporary love songs, it may not make many playlists of popular wedding songs.)
Check back soon for the next installment of "My All-Time Greatest Songs". In the meantime, listen to a few renditions of today's feature, "Someone Like You"!
Adele Official Music Video (Vevo)
Dan Wilson with Kronos Quartet