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Every Adele Song, Ranked

Pour some wine, grab a box of tissues and call your therapist before digging into our ranking of every officially released Adele song

Over just four albums, Adele has built the type of airtight canon other artists spend decades trying to achieve. She launched her career as a heartbroken teenager with 19 and is now in her thirties, digging deep into motherhood, love, regret and, of course, more heartbreak. She has written more modern pop standards than anyone else in her generation, each single becoming an instant classic.

It’s no easy feat choosing what makes for the best Adele song — there’s not a single dud in the bunch. This list includes every officially released song that she’s released as the lead artist, from her four albums and a few live records. We included a number of officially released covers she has done, as well as bonus tracks and rarities (though many are still not on streaming, dedicated fans have uploaded them to YouTube for everyone to enjoy). Only two songs are missing from the list (for now): 30 bonus tracks that are still best (and exclusively) heard on physical deluxe editions of the album.

For now, pour some wine, grab a box of tissues, and call your therapist: Here’s our official ranking of Adele’s songs.

From Rolling Stone US

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“I Drink Wine”

30 is by far Adele’s best album in an already pristine discography, and by no short feat is “I Drink Wine” the best song on that album. Written to express remorse for not being as present for a close friend as she would like to be, Adele reflects on her limitations as a person who is plagued by insecurity, regret, and fear. All she wants is to love and be loved with no strings. She called the song her tribute to Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s great Seventies collaborations, a piano-driven track that is equal parts love song and pub singalong. The track ends with a voice memo recorded for a different friend, a naked and honest moment from one of the most famous people in the world. And as a bonus? There’s a 15-minute version of “I Drink Wine” sitting out there and originally placed on 30 before some label feedback. This repeat-worthy song could easily go for an hour, and it still wouldn’t be enough. —B.S.

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“Rolling In the Deep”

Adele was hardly a rookie when she dropped “Rolling in the Deep” — but this is the hit that made her a legend, as far as the whole world was concerned. Reeling from the “rubbish relationship” that inspired her breakthrough 21, Adele poured all her pain into this smash. “Rolling in the Deep” sounded like nothing else on the radio in 2011, but right from the dramatic opening moments, you could tell this was a song — and an artist — here to stay. Despite the downbeat vocals, the music is pure exuberance: that gospel-into-disco chorus surge, the church handclaps, the Nashville country-blues guitar. The ultimate compliment? Aretha herself covered it. “Carole King is the last person [before Adele] who wrote the kind of lyrics women immediately could relate to,” Aretha Franklin told Rolling Stone. “I love to hear a schoolgirl on the school bus yellin’, ‘We coulda had it all!’” —R.S.

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Is there a stronger flex than taking a word as common and universal as “hello” and taking ownership of it? Only Adele can. The four years following the release of 21 felt like a lifetime back then, and her 2015 return with blockbuster follow-up 25 was long-awaited and much-needed. “Hello” was the first single and a cheeky nod to not only our waiting but to her past: friendships, relationships, regrets, and younger self. She says “hello from the other side” of adulthood, older, wiser, and world-weary after the experiences of her youth. The song itself is a massive, ambitious showcase of Adele’s star and vocal power. Her voice glides over her songwriting partner Greg Kurstin’s multi-instrumental talent, as he plays every instrument on the track. It was an explosive return that paid off well: “Hello” quickly skyrocketed up the charts and eventually became Adele’s biggest song yet. —B.S.