How Many of Adele’s Biggest Hits Can You Name?

Adele is one of the definitive superstars of our era. During the release of her albums 21 and 25, it felt like everything she touched turned to gold. Everyone in the English-speaking world has heard Adele songs. How many of her biggest hits on the Billboard Hot 100 can you name?

Adele performing in Birmingham, England | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

5. ‘Send My Love (To Your New Lover)’

Adele is an artist known for her distinct sound, but she abandons it for this hit. “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” sees her embracing two things she hadn’t before: worldbeat music and sarcasm. Although worldbeat music is generally associated with earnestness, this song sees Adele telling off an ex-boyfriend in an incredibly snarky way.

All of Adele’s hits are catchy, but “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” is her greatest earworm yet. The song has an odd melody which won’t leave your head for days once you’ve heard it. The song’s folk music-inspired intro is also very memorable.

4. ‘Hello’

Most of the instrumentation in Adele’s hello is surprisingly minimalist for the singer. In the hands of a lesser artist, the song could have been boring. The song’s restrained beat allows Adele’s lyrics to have the spotlight.

Adele in Cologne, Germany | Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

This artistic risk paid off immensely. “Hello”’s sparse orchestration communicates the loneliness and sadness Adele feels in the song. Not since Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” did the Brits give us a musical tearjerker this perfect.

3. ‘Someone Like You’

Every Adele song has flawless vocals. “Someone Like You” stands out from the singer’s discography because it’s her lyrical masterpiece. Over the course of three short minutes, Adele expresses anger, sadness, and acceptance, all with a touch of self-deprecation. Although Adele isn’t quite as respected as the Bard, “Someone Like You” is the modern equivalent of a Shakespearean sonnet.

That’s not even talking about “Someone Like You”‘s instrumentation. It’s the piano ballad to end all piano ballads. The song’s repetitive riff is hypnotic. If all piano ballads were this good, the genre wouldn’t have a reputation for being pretentious and dull.

2. ‘Set Fire to the Rain’

Adele in London, England | Luca Teuchmann/Getty Images

Adele’s power ballads are usually a little more restrained than the power ballads of earlier artists like Celine Dion and Michael Bolton. “Set Fire to the Rain” is a glorious exception to the rule. This song is melodrama at its purest, and manages to be moving despite – or perhaps because of – its oblique lyrics. 

How can someone “set fire to the rain?” No one really knows. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is the song features the best Wall of Sound production this side of Phil Spector.

1. ‘Rolling in the Deep’

“Rolling in the Deep” doesn’t even feel like a song. It feels like an event. The music of the new millennium can be easily divided into pre-”Rolling in the Deep” and post-”Rolling in the Deep.”

Since the tragic death of Kurt Cobain, popular music had almost exclusively been light, fun, and inconsequential. “Rolling in the Deep” paved the way for more thoughtful artists like Lorde, Halsey, and Billie Eilish to become superstars. For that, we all owe Adele a debt of gratitude.