While many talented musicians have tried to tailor different covers of the song, Nour Habr, a Media Studies student at the American University of Beirut re-wrote the song to highlight the garbage crisis in which Lebanon has been drowning for the past five months.
Her rendition has been subject to much attention lately, and in an interview with Outlook, Habr spoke about her cover and explained how it was created.
How did the idea come to you?
I was actually trying to study when I saw the newest research that AUB had conducted about the damages of burning garbage and how serious they are. I felt really disappointed, useless and scared. Adele’s song just came to mind since it’s been stuck in my head ever since its release.
Why did you choose Adele’s song to cover?
“Hello” has become a hit here in Lebanon. For some reason, many Lebanese can easily relate to it. Thus, I chose this song because it reflects the horrible crisis in Lebanon through its sad lyrics and themes of misery and heartbreak. It gives you some kind of heartache to see a heartbroken girl trying to reach her beloved one. Same scenario [happens] here: the garbage is trying to call us and remind us of its damaging presence. So just like Adele herself said: “it makes you want to make-up for everything you ever did and never did!”
How do you think this kind of art can benefit the society?
I am hoping that it would raise awareness through its dramatic tone. I hope it would seriously remind the people of the situation, so that when they happen to be listening to the original “Hello”, they would also remember the garbage side. This kind of non-stop reminder will eventually lead somewhere, if not now, then certainly later. “They say that time’s supposed to heal me but wait, you still stink” is a reference to the movement, to the activism and to the revolution. And the last part “it’s no secret that the both of us are running out of time” wasn’t changed to reference an alarming reminder of how serious this crisis is.
Do you plan on taking this further? How?
Many people tried to convince me to do a video clip for it related to the crisis; they even proposed some very great ideas. But I don’t think I will, at least not for now. In my defense, the targeted message was sent and I am not planning on expanding my work by having garbage as an inspiration.
As an AUB student, how do you believe you can impact the world?
I strongly believe that each one of us can have an impact on Lebanon, especially now, by being active not only on social media but on the streets as well, by reading and expressing ourselves and by recycling, we can set a good example for the people around us. As for an AUB student, the college offers a lot of related clubs for us to be active in. AUB also organized many debates and discussions with professionals and experts to let students become more aware and more critical. I believe that people like it when they see college students being active in such matters: they believe in us, so how about we believe in ourselves?
To listen to “Hello from the garbage side”, click here.