We’re fortunate to be alive in the time of sepia-toned Adele. She’s saying “Hello” to us with that fierce, honey-smoked voice of hers on the radio, and it sounds great. We love it. Are there even other songs (or albums) that exist right now? Moreover, is there another “Hello” existing that measures up to Adele’s cathartic chart-topper emotively and philosophically, and do the artists that sing it have comparably fleeked eyeliner?  

Lucky for us again, Erykah Badu and Andre 3000 have come to the rescue, sans Maybelline. Last week, Badu dropped her stellar mixtape, But You Cain’t Use My Phone, which features a groovy track coincidentally dubbed “Hello.” On it, Andre 3000 spits one of the coolest raps I’ve heard in a while with crazy turbo-speed and characteristic calmness, intelligence — a combination non-neo-soul listeners are gravely missing. And then Badu drizzles into the funk with her syrupy pipes and peaceful lyrics, borrowed from Todd Rundgren’s 1972 “Hello It’s Me” (and The Isley Brothers’ 1974 version, too). Badu’s is a welcoming, laid-back tune, one to which all modern listeners should divert their attention after growing weary of Adele’s ballad. It could happen.

And where that comes from, there are plenty more equally interesting “Hello”-centric songs to wave to. There’s the classic Lionel Richie (beautiful song, skip the video); “Hello, I Love You” by Jim Morrison and The Doors and many more. Because sometimes, we need a throwback. Sometimes, we need to step back and extend our ears to fully appreciate all the “Hellos” that led us to this moment, this sepia-toned love affair with Adele. She had us at “hello,” but so did these other artists. Check out a playlist here.

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