Regarding Tom Wait’s Suit Against Artist Adele

As you may (or may not) have heard, Tom Waits has filed suit against pop artist, Adele over the similarities between her song, “Hello” and his song, “Martha” from his debut album, Closing Time from 1973.

Tom Waits - Closing Time

Waits’ track is a staple song of love lost and the passage of time. It’s a stripped-down and vulnerable piece comprising only a sustained piano melody, minimal strings, and Tom’s lonely voice professing his hopeful outreach to a physically (and metaphysically) distant soul for which he once felt perhaps a touch of warmth.

Adele’s pop track falls horribly flat by comparison. The lyrics are transparent, lacking of heart and authenticity. The synthesized backing track is appropriate in that it, too is devoid of soul or feeling. It’s just another pop track with pantomimed lyrics by a dolled-up product of commercial radio.

Adele’s contract was a low-point for XL Recordings, who once carried artists of substance and character. Adele is utterly dull as a performer, her music is instantly forgettable, save for the super-saturation of the airwaves with her infantile hooks and ridiculous lyrics (because barking the phrase, “rumor has it” 136 times apparently qualifies as a song).

I was baffled to learn that Adele is still producing music in 2015, and further astounded by her sales accolades in the pop market. But this really only speaks to how miserably low the bar has been set for artistic ability in the world of pop today.

In a decade’s time, no one of artistic merit will be discussing Adele. Mr. Waits on the other hand, remains and will remain a critical artist of popular and avant-garde music.

If Adele makes the claim that the songs are incomparable, I’ll agree wholeheartedly. But as even embarrassingly-poor mimicry is still grounds for suit, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Here’s the original track, “Martha” from a young Tom Waits way back in ’73.

Published in: on November 3, 2015 at 6:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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