I anticipated that Adele's new music video would leave me speechless. Instead, it left two words hanging on the tip of my tongue:
The music video for "Hello"—a track off her upcoming third album, 25—opens with the singer struggling with bad reception as she talks to someone on her flip phone. Her flip phone! In 2015! Just, like, why? Who put Adele up to this? Was it Motorola? The Chocolate? As a longtime flip phone devotee who held on to his LG VX8300 until about midway into 2011, I felt compelled to find out.
My immediate thought was that the flip phone was an artistic choice, either on the part of Adele or the music video director. The truther that I am, I theorized that they wanted to incorporate a phone call into the "Hello" narrative but did not want anyone to misinterpret the phone's usage as an instance of product placement—which is so pervasive in music videos these days. So, they settled on a phone that is so outdated and so non-smart that nobody could mistake it for a sponsored prop.
Fusion style writer Tahirah Hairston thought of another reason why Adele might be using what looks like a burner phone in the clip. As she told me over Slack: "Maybe it's this whole thing where they are really drug dealers on the run, and now they're not talking but can't leave the woods because they don't want to be found." And earlier this morning, our Pop & Culture director Dodai Stewart wrote that perhaps Adele has "no need for your faddish, constantly-in-need-of updates operating systems" as it is very possible that she is actually a witch.
I would be 100% on board with either of those readings. I would be on board with any explanation for the flip phone that wasn't "the video for Adele's first new song in four years contains product placement for a flip phone." I mean, is there even a flip phone company with enough money to catch Adele's eye? Could the "Hello" video possibly be sponsored by burners?!
Thankfully, I was able to settle the matter with the "Hello" video director Xavier Dolan himself.
"The use of flip-flop phones is coherent with the rest of my work," Dolan told me in an email sent by his agent. "I can't get my head around filming iPhones—they're too real, too identifiable with our everyday lives. Same for cars. I feel bad filming Toyotas and Kias. As soon as you film these elements, it's like you're shooting whatever commercial. I find them to be non-narrative elements."
So, the flip phone's appearance was an artistic choice after all? Which means that Adele's new music video wasn't sponsored by a flip phone company? Thank god. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some rain to which I must cancel setting fire.
Bad at filling out bios seeks same.