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Remix Breakdown: Turning Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' Into A Summer Jam
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Remix Breakdown: Turning Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep' Into A Summer Jam

Music Articles

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Today is the unofficial end of summer, so it seemed to us like a good day to pick the song of summer. NPR's Sami Yenigun has taken into consideration measures objective and subjective, and he is ready to argue that the title this year should go to one huge hit: "Rolling in the Deep," by Adele.


ADELE: (Singing) There's a fire starting in my heart, reaching a fever pitch. It's bringing me out the dark.

SAMI YENIGUN: "Rolling in the Deep" is this year's undisputed champion of the charts. It sold 4.8 million copies in the U.S., over a million more than the number 2 song.


ADELE: (Singing) See how I'll leave with every piece of you. Don't underestimate the things that I will do.

YENIGUN: Released last November, it wasn't a major hit right off the bat. In February, around the time of her album's release, Adele started getting attention from mainstream pop culture platforms. She performed on Letterman. "Glee" did a cover of the song. And in May, the song shot to the top spot on the charts, where it stayed for eight weeks straight.


ADELE: (Singing) The scars of your love, they leave me breathless. I can't help feeling we could've had it all. Rolling in the deep. Tears are going to fall. Rolling in the deep.

YENIGUN: But sales tell only a fraction of the success story. The video's been viewed over 121 million times on YouTube. YouTube's Trends Manager Kevin Alloca.

KEVIN ALLOCA: If you look at the chart of how the views sort of spread for that video, it wasn't until the summer that it really took off. As opposed to a lot of other really big videos that can start off big and then taper off, or sort of start off really big and then remain huge, it really grew gradually. So you can kind of see that over the summer is really when that video became popular.

YENIGUN: YouTube views, sales - this is how we usually gauge a hit song. But Alloca says that what Adele's fans have done with the song is astounding.

ALLOCA: If you search for Adele cover songs, you'll get about 15,000 results on YouTube of various things that are labeled as that. And several of those have over a million views. And those run the gamut from professional, like Linkin Park, to somebody like Mike Tompkins, who's a - sort of a big star on YouTube, to - there's a really great one that a band from the Air Force put out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Singing) And you played it to the beat. We could've had it all. Rolling in the deep.

YENIGUN: When Alloca drove up to Toronto this summer, he heard "Rolling in the Deep" on the radio a total of 10 times, with four different remixes of it. Part of the song's crossover appeal has been due to the amount of remix attention it's received. Liam Dirlam, a producer who goes by the name Voodoo Farm, says that the original producer left a lot of room for remixers to put their own touches on it.

[POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The producer of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" was Paul Epworth, not Rick Ruben.]

LIAM DIRLAM: Every single D.J. that has remixed "Rolling in the Deep" owes Rick Ruben a huge kiss on the lips because he strips down songs and exposes the songs for what they are.

YENIGUN: People who went to music festivals this summer likely heard this song over and over again, in various shapes and sizes. Big-name D.J.s introduced thousands of electrified versions of the hit and now, everyone dances to it. For his own remix, Dirlam took the minimal instrumentation of the original, and added synthesizers and audio effects to create a dancier version of the song that he loves.


ADELE: I will I will I will I will...

DIRLAM: I just, I fell in love with the song the second I heard it. I popped on the headphones, started jamming out, and about halfway through it I was just like, this is the most beautiful song I've heard in the last 10 years.


ADELE: (Singing) You could have had it all. Rolling in the deep.

YENIGUN: Simply put, "Rolling in the Deep" is a heart-stopping, chart-topping, YouTube popping, cover-propping, booty-dropping jam. The song of the summer. Sami Yenigun, NPR News.


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