To think! Just a few weeks ago we were all making “Hotline Bling” memes.
Drake is so October. The new ruler of Internet music memes is, without a Cockney-inflected question, Adele. The singer dropped her third album, “25,” late last month. After a few years away from the zeitgeist, she’s not only topped the charts this year — she’s influenced the way we do the web.
First, the cultural phenom herself: Adele has made the viral rounds as part of the usual press gauntlet, starring in a few trending clips. There was a performance on children’s instruments of hit single “Hello” with “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon and his house band, the Roots, for one.
After her performance on an episode of “Saturday Night Live” hosted by Matthew McConaughey, a clip of the singer’s near-isolated vocal track hit the web, supposedly as a leak. It certainly served as excellent PR for the British singer’s reputation as a mighty wailer, illicit release or not. But one of the most circulated videos tailor-made for viral press? A BBC segment where Adele — in a prosthetic nose — infiltrated a group of Adele impersonators. You can guess how that turned out.
Outside of appearances by Adele herself, which certainly bank on her big voice and bigger personality, the meme machine found its usual inventive ways to subvert popular culture. There are the mashups and covers, featuring movie characters, marching bands and the singer of another song called “Hello,” Lionel Richie. There are the reactions, usually centering on the waves of heartache Adele’s music typically inspires, in humans and dogs alike. Don’t forget the celebrity tributes, either: Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Sam Smith and more all geeked out about “25” online. Speaking of Richie, in this case, the life imitated Internet art. The two singers are now slated for an IRL collaboration.
There’s been chatter about Adele’s success as it relates to the digital world, namely about how the singer “went viral” without the aid of selfies or tweets. But make no mistake about the “Rolling In the Deep” hitmaker’s digital savvy. Look to the memes, for starters, but remember: She announced her new tour on Facebook.
If anyone still doubts Adele’s ability to harness the Internet for her gain, look no further than the Google numbers.