Of course, these are all interesting twists, but we’re still talking about two songs in which Adele is belting to a former lover about why he won’t talk to her anymore. Saying “Hello” is distinct from “Someone Like You” is like saying Road to Morocco is distinct from Road to Zanzibar. Adele has even recreated the most affecting chorus moment of “Someone,” the break in her voice that telegraphs hurt: 2011’s weepy “Don’t forget me [crack], I beg,” becomes 2015’s “To tell you [crack] I’m sorry.” (In both cases, the voice-crack might be the song’s best hook.) There’s nothing wrong with an artist owning her turf and burnishing her brand. It’s what Whitney Houston was doing on her 1992 cover of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” taking back her mantle as America’s premier vocalist and reminding fans why they first fell in love with her. But the Whitney song’s unusual a cappella opening and cinematic bigness felt relatively new to Houston’s fans at the time. For Adele fans, “Hello” is a favorite sweater from past winters they’re happy to pull down off the shelf and snuggle in again.
From here. (I am one of those people who thinks that “Hello” is nice enough, but pretty much just like the 21 stuff, which never appealed that much to me either.)