Is Jacob Sartorius a true wunderkind or is he more “hit or miss?”
Online, there’s one kid who is getting his fair share of hate. That is Musical.ly sensation Jacob Sartorius. The 13-year old made plenty of buzz when he dropped single “Sweatshirt.” “Sweatshirt” wasn’t exactly well-received. Take a listen, and it’ll be blatantly obvious why. Sartorius has returned in all his pubescent glory with “Hit or Miss.” If you’re thinking that Jacob walked right into that one considering the title, you’d be correct.
“Hit or Miss” fires folks up at their most subjective. Even objectively, it’s hard to get past the sheer corniness of Sartorius’ heavily autotune pipes, not to mention the rapping. Furthemore, doesn’t reference “Casper” and “Blues Clues” lose all of your street cred? Sure, Sartorius had none to lose but still…
Enough rambling. Check out my incredibly kind thoughts towards J.S. below, if you dare! And please, check out The Musical Hype!
13-Year Old Musical.ly sensation Jacob Sartorius releases a follow-up single to the much maligned “Sweatshirt,” “Hit or Miss.” Sartorius sings & raps. The post Track Review: Jacob Sartorius, ‘Hit or Miss’ 6 more words
The best artists evolve, at least that’s popular opinion. Throughout her career, Alicia Keys has done that. The argument could be made, however, that Keys’ older music is more potent and more important to shaping her artistry. Undoubtedly, Keys’ first two albums – Songs In A Minor and The Diary Of Alicia Keys – are her best. After third studio album As I Am, musically, one questions “the weight” of the music she’s releasing. That isn’t to say she still doesn’t have that extra special something but is New Alicia Keys as great as old Alicia Keys? No.
That assertion is supported by Keys’ new single, “In Common.” “In Common” is a contemporary R&B record that, much like post-As I Am Alicia Keys trends toward pop. Gone are all flashes of neo-soul and retro soul that made Keys a force in the neo-soul movement and established her as an “old soul.” Here, Keys seems to embrace the present and future of the genre, which has struggled to find commercial footing and a place on the radio airwaves in recent times.
So, how good/memorable is “In Common.” It doesn’t seem like a hit. It’s okay, but this won’t necessarily propel Keys to newfound success or more relevance in the current music climate. Honestly, while backpedalling may not be the answer, perhaps if Keys embraced some of the cues that made her such a success and fused them with cues of more contemporary music, she might pack more punch and garner more interest. Give her credit for experimenting, but “In Common” is no “Fallin’,” “You Don’t Know My Name,” “If I Ain’t Got You” – the list goes on and on and “In Common” trumps none.
It hurts to be critical of my one-time music celebrity crush, but objectively speaking, this isn’t her best, and it’s been four years since Girl On Fire. Maybe it’s a grower? Then maybe again, it’s not…
Not to relive the American Idol Series finale, but among new singles trapped in an overstuffed two-hour concert was Fantasia’s new single, “Ugly.” Yes, “Ugly” had to compete with a catchier, if ‘soon-to-be-forgotten’ new single from Jennifer Lopez (“Ain’t Your Mama”) among others, but arguably, “Ugly” might be worth a second look, even if it seemed ‘odd’ in the context of the show. In other words, give Fantasia’s latest a chance.
Is “Ugly” the second coming? Nope. BUT, what is respectable about this song is that there’s more of a pop and singer/songwriter vibe, something that we haven’t necessarily heard from Fantasia throughout her underrated career. This is not that catchy radio song that’s going to necessarily make Fantasia a pop star – she’s clearly an R&B gal – but this is a pop-oriented R&B song that has the right formula to get pop airplay. Confused yet?
Now to address the elephant in the room – will “Ugly” breakthrough? Probably not, but the potential is there because it’s a different look/sound for Fantasia. She’s still soulful, but the poise and restraint are a nice contrast. Furthermore, the fact she finally reaches a fever pitch is just a further testament to the ‘gifts’ given by this unlikely candidate. It won’t be for everybody, but give it a few spins – there’s something here.
She’s back! Who you ask? Corinne Bailey Rae of course – who else? It has been TOO long since the world heard from the Grammy-winning British adult contemporary R&B/neo-soul artist. Finally after a six-year hiatus between albums, Bailey Rae releases her third LP, The Heart Speaks In Whispers via Virgin Records. While we’ll have to wait until May for the album, single “Green Aphrodisiac” is already upon us. Did Corinne Bailey Rae return with a bang or nah?
“Green Aphrodisiac” will instantly make the listener hearken back to the days of “Put Your Records On” (Corinne Bailey Rae, 2006). If you partook of the less popular The Sea (2010), listeners will hear the low-key soulfulness of “I’d Do It All Again,” a record that percolates to a boil. “Green Aphrodisiac” begins slowly, somewhat enigmatic before peaking up steam and finding Bailey Rae letting loose. Bailey Rae, now 37, never over sings, but she also never under sings,finding poise yet captivating without a hitch.
The best way to look at “Green Aphrodisiac” is for what it is, not its commercial potential. Commercially, this adult contemporary R&B joint won’t win over the airwaves, and it shouldn’t be expected to do so. But in regards to R&B circles, this is clearly fire. For the minority of fans who still believe in R&B, Corinne Bailey Rae and “Green Aphrodisiac” certainly keep R&B afoot.
Corinne Bailey Rae • “Green Aphrodisiac” • The Heart Speaks in Whispers • Virgin
November 13 happens to be Friday the 13th. For those who are superstition, Friday the 13th is a nightmare – totally not a good day. For the music industry however, they aren’t the least bit concerned about Friday the 13th. If you naïve of the slate of releases, they include one British boy band sensation and one comeback pop star. That would be One Direction and Justin Bieber. As jam-packed as the release date is, also welcoming new offerings from Jeezy, Logic, Chris Young,Ty Dolla $ign, and Kirk Franklin, everybody seems to agree that the race for the top spot on the Billboard 200 is a dogfight between Justin Bieber and One Direction. The question is, who will win if this is indeed the case?
Let’s examine the chart history of both. We’ll start with Justin Bieber. He has tallied an impressive five number one albums in his young career. How big is that? Well, there are veteran artists who can’t lay claim to such a feat. His 2009 debut My World missed the mark, debuting at #6 with 137,000 copies. Despite missing the top five all together, the album would be certified platinum.
Beyond My World, Bieber’s career was truly catapulted to superstar status. My World 2.0 would debut at #1, selling 283,000 copies. My World 2.0 went on to spawn notable hits in “Baby” and “Somebody to Love.” More notably, My World 2.0 was certified multiplatinum – triple platinum to be precise. The success would continue with holiday album Under the Mistletoe, Believe, and Believe Acoustic all landing in the penthouse. The numbers? – 210,000 copies for Mistletoe, 374,000 copies for Believe, and 211,000 copies for Believe Acoustic. Under The Mistletoe and Believe were certified platinum.
One Direction has released four studio albums prior to 2015’s Made In The A.M.: Up All Night (2011), Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013), and Four (2014). All four have debuted at #1. Up All Night sold 176,000 copies, and went on to be certified double platinum. Sophomore album Take Me Home debuted much more robustly with 540,000 copies sold, also eventually being certified double platinum.
Things only improved on third effort Midnight Memories, which sold 546,000 copies, earning yet another platinum effort for the British boy band. Finally, Four broke the “increase in sales” trend, tallying the then quintet’s second-lowest opening with 387,000 copies, and of course another platinum plaque. The big takeaway from the British boy band – they know how to sell albums.
So, if you compare the sales for both, the answer would seem obvious who should win the battle – One Direction. One Direction has accomplished something that Bieber hasn’t – two albums that have sold more than a half-million copies. Bieber’s high watermark came for Believe with its impressive 374,000 copies, but that doesn’t best 546,000 copies (Midnight Memories). Even if the significantly lower sales of Four are considered, it still trumps Bieber’s best week. Pit debut album sales against each other and who comes out on top? One Direction. If this is the rationale, then One Direction wins every time.
As aforementioned, note that “if” was used. While One Direction sells albums better than Bieber, there are some pros that bode well for him this round. One is that his singles are more potent than 1D’s. “What Do You Mean?” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – a feat that hasn’t happened for 1D – while “Sorry” debuted at #2, thanks to Adele’s “Hello” taking top honors. Go back even farther, and Bieber’s single within Diplo and Skrillex, “Where Are Ü Now” was kind of a big deal as well, hitting #8. In a singles dominated market, not to mention the new Billboard 200 calculation formula (tracks, sales, and streams), Bieber might have the right combination to stop the streak for 1D. It also might help that Bieber’s ‘anticipated’ due to a three-year hiatus.
One Direction aren’t slouches in the singles department, but currently don’t have any singles in the top 10 of he Billboard Hot 100. While “Drag Me Down” landed at #3, in its 13th week (at the time of publication), it sits at #24. Another single, “Perfect,” also hit the top 10, but in its second week, slips from #10 to #29, again at publication time. Singles don’t appear to be the calling card, so advantage Bieber if that facet comes into play.
Ultimately, you can crunch numbers until you’re blue in the face, but only time will tell. If I had to pick, I’d pick One Direction by a smidgen. Why? While Justin Bieber’s comeback is fascinating, is it any more fascinating than how One Direction will sound as a foursome. Also with Bieber, a question is how much irreparable damage he’s done to his persona during his “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young” phase. Furthermore, whether 1D fans want to hear this or not, what if this is potentially the final One Direction album considering the forthcoming break? Yes, the drop from 546K to 387K is a potential red flag, but it seems like JB would need the biggest selling album of his career to halt 1D.
One of my personal favorite songs from 2015 is pop musician Andy Grammer’s “Honey, I’m Good,” which actually came out in 2014. Back in 2011, I bought Grammer’s debut album, Andy Grammer, mostly because of a love for single, “Keep Your Head Up.” Did I stick with Grammer when Magazines Or Novels came out in later summer 2014? Well, no, but we all make mistakes, right?
“I got her and she got me / and you got that ass / and I kindly got to be like…”
What’s more fun than having a hot single and having others cover? Well, maybe a lot of things are more fun, but there are plenty of covers of this monogamous, yet fun pop/country anthem. Speaking of monogamy, isn’t it something that Andy Grammer managed to sneak some lines that wouldn’t normally be associated with monogamy in “Honey, I’m Good?” “And these long, long legs / are damn near everywhere” and the crème de la crème “And you got that ass.” The coverers on this list go for the first one about the “long legs,” but some find the booty one to be a bit much.
Here’s the original:
Andy Grammer – Honey, I’m Good (Official Music Video)
And now, here are nine covers of “Honey, I’m Good” plus one bonus track!
1) Kurt Hugo Schneider (featuring Sam Tsui)
Video title: Honey I’m Good – Andy Grammer – One Take!! Sam Tsui & KHS Cover (May 30, 2015)
Seven words: THIS IS HOW YOU DO A COVER! Sam Tsui is an incredibly gifted vocalist (check out his YouTube channel if you haven’t) and Kurt Hugo Schneider is one of those “do everything” music producers. Brilliant might be an understatement. Oh and its on iTunes, so you better cop that!
2) Home Free
Video title: Honey, I’m good. – Andy Grammer (Home Free Cover) (April 14, 2015)
This video is nothing short of pure fun. Sure, it helps that “Honey, I’m Good” is infectious already, but these dudes – who happen to have won season for of NBC’s The Sing Off – take it over the top. There’s nothing like good-natured fun and humor, right? Better yet, what about exceptional singing?
3) Nick Pitera
Video title: Andy Grammer – Honey I’m Good – A cappella Cover – Nick Pitera (June 2, 2015)
How cool is this a cappella cover? Better yet, how cool is pop musician Nick Pitera? Just when you think you’re one of the most creative people you know, you find someone who gives you fresh inspiration. Great voice(s) by all means! The cover is available on iTunes and Loudr, while Pitera released his debut EP Stairwellsin March 2015.
4) Tanner Patrick
Video title: Andy Grammer – Honey, I’m Good. Cover by Tanner Patrick (June 7, 2015)
The first thing that caught my ear about this cover was the tone of Texan pop singer Tanner Patrick’s voice – it’s perfectly suited for this particular song. He doesn’t go for the best line of the song, but the censorship actually adds character (“And you’ve got that AY!”).
Video title: Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer (Official Music Video Cover by Andy Scalise ft. Ciara Rae) (April 5, 2015)
Hey, two is better than one, right? This cover preserves the feel good nature of the pop/country record. It’s definitely entertaining. Scalise goes for the naughtiness that Tanner Patrick avoids (“And you got that ass.”) In fact, rather than stepping away from it guest Ciara Rae’s shows her, um, you know.
6) Mackenzie Johnson
Video title: Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer Cover (April 20, 2015)
Here comes the ukulele! But Mackenzie Johnson’s cover is much more than sound strumming. She’s got a superb voice with a tone that gives “Honey, I’m Good” a different, pleasant sound. Rock on girl!
Video title: Honey I’m Good – Andy Grammer (Tyler & Ryan) Cover (May 20, 2015)
This cover takes slightly more risks with “Honey, I’m Good” compared to some of the others. Still, aspiring musicians Tyler and Ryan don’t overdo tweaking the hit by any means.
Video title: Andy Grammer – Honey I’m Good – Eric Ethridge Cover – (Country Version) (April 29, 2015)
Strings – like violin and cello? Yes please. Does Eric go for the fun/naughty line? Nope. While ass is acceptable in country music, it not in the context that Andy Grammer uses it, so, “yeah” is put in its place.
9) Jonathan Young
Video title: Honey, I’m Good (A Cappella) – Andy Grammer Cover (April 30, 2015)
There’s so much to like about this cover. For one, after listening to so many covers of “Honey, I’m Good,” this one makes more pronounced tweaks. The tempo is slightly slower and the depth of the Young’s voice itself naturally makes the more urban flavor successful. From the get-go, Young captivates the listener because he transcends what Grammer has already done spectacularly.
Video title: ‘Honey, I’m Good’ (Parody) – Lyrics in Real Life (June 2, 2015)
This was too funny not to include. There is no singing, but that doesn’t keep it from being a sight to behold. Matthias, using the lyrics from Grammer’s breakout single, parodies the monogamous anthem like a champ.
First thing’s first, this guy is a Maroon 5 fan. Yes, since their days singing Songs About Jane, particularly horny “This Love,” Maroon 5 has ranked among not only my personal favorite pop group, but the sentiment has been clear across pop culture itself. However, following the underrated Hands All Over album, specifically upon the release of number one hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” the formula for the band began to change a bit. Yes, that ugly thing called conformity began to rear its ugly head, hence why album Overexposed is arguably the collective’s least consistent, least likable. V didn’t bring the ‘heat’ back like say Songs About Jane, but it was a better-rounded affair than Overexposed.
V has had some great singles, not to mention its share of controversy. “Maps” was solid, but perhaps not the sexiest single of Maroon 5’s career. “Animals” was hella catchy, but on the flip side of things, its suggestive lyrics took quite a bit of criticism. Furthermore with “Animals,” its risqué music video only amplified the controversial aspects. Then came “Sugar,” the funkiest single of the bunch where Adam Levine’s falsetto sounds as potent as it did with Maroon 5 first bowed. So where does album five, appropriately entitled V, go from here? Following a reissue, V gave us the ultimate guilty pleasure to make summer even better – “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf—-r.”
While a single that laces profanity always piques one’s interest, often, it can have an adverse effect and turn folks off. Yes maybe that sounds surprising in a new generation where f-bombs run rampant, but even commonplace profanity can make folks gasp. When I first saw the song pop up in iTunes, I wanted to roll my eyes – “Really Maroon 5, you are issuing a song with MF in the title?” I also said to myself, “Has Maroon 5 totally given into being conformists embracing all things commercial?” While the answer is obviously YES (who isn’t), “Summer’s Gonna Hurt” is nothing short of a treat. Sure, the harmonic progression is simple – chords almost anybody could play – yet the song is just irresistible.
So what about the lyrics? Well obviously hook “This summer’s gonna hurt like a motherf—-r” is both energetic and explicit, yet you just wanna belt it out the first time you hear it. Sure parents won’t be pleased hearing teens ‘drop the bomb,’ but honestly, likely those kids have had practice – just saying!
After the initial hook, Levine begins depicting WHY “this summer’s gonna hurt.” “Her body’s like the summer / I’m in a trance or something / her mind is not, no / as sharp as all her diamonds.” So she’s beautiful, but that seems to be her sole virtue. Then the pre-chorus arrives, finding Levine characterizing her as “fancy” and proceeds to “see her when I go to sleep / I check my phone when I am weak / she never post anything deep / cause she’s so fancy.” So she’s high maintenance, not too bright, and she’s a representation of “summer,” which is “gonna hurt like a motherf—-r.” Proceed!
The second verse brings more of the same – “She wants it all” and Adam is getting nothing out of the relationship (“I’m ripping off that bandage / because I just can’t stand it).” So after another pre-chorus where she’s “Dancing on a fool / Like she’s seventeen and cool / she really thinks that she can move / but it’s just nasty.” Again, this relationship is not worth it, no matter how fly this girl looks. Look at the rest of the song and the point is obvious that this love thing is not going to last and it would be better if it ended before it began.
Ultimately, Maroon 5 have something with this big pop single. No it won’t supplant their classics, but this just might be one of the better songs of their career. It’s not deep and it’s frank, but in this day an age, isn’t that sort of what’s expected? V just got better with “Summer” on board!
Britney Spears & Iggy Azalea • Pretty Girls – Single • RCA • Release Date: May 4, 2015
There’s really just one question to ask – have Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea lost their minds? YES (not YAAASS)! Listening to the pair’s corny new single, the question is DEFINITELY a rhetorical. “Pretty Girls” is nothing short of a hot mess – strike that – a HOTT MESS in screaming letters and at least two T’s. Will this schmaltzy, tongue-n-cheek single become the hit of the summer? Maybe, maybe not, but it is obvious that Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea are looking to accomplish a couple of things with this single.
“All around the world, pretty girls / wipe the floor with all the boys / pour the drinks, bring the noise” – Hook
Let’s start with the goals for the lead artist, Britney. Everybody knows that Britney Spears needs a big hit. Her previous album Britney Jean was a flop, and while “Work B**ch” was okay, it was by no means a classic from the former teen-pop star. Britney Spears just never sounded ‘invested’ as she has in the past, but rather came off as bored and out of tricks. She really needs “Pretty Girls” to be ‘that’ single that rejuvenates her career after a miss with Britney Jean.
“Damn, still killing them softly / I would spend time with you but that’d cost me” – Iggy Azalea
For Iggy Azalea, it seems that she’s trying to find her next big hit. “Beg For It” was too much a retread of “Fancy” even if it was an enjoyable single. Still, it never could supersede “Fancy” or “Black Widow” and Iggy’s Reclassified – her hits plus some newbies from The New Classic – didn’t exactly light up the charts or capitalize off of her breakout success. Iggy Azalea isn’t necessarily ‘in trouble,’ but the recent press from an assortment of folks could suggest her run in 2014 might be the ‘peak’ of her career, fair or unfair.
So two artists looking for a big time hit get together and create “Pretty Girls.” Laughable when you think about it, isn’t it? The song has no substance, Britney Spears sings about nothing really, and Iggy Azalea spits about nothing. Sounds like a world class hit in modern times right? Even worse (or better if it bugs the ‘you-know-what-out-of you’) is that “Pretty Girls” clocks in under three minutes. Short, but not necessarily sweet.
Ultimately, some will think this single is “cute” while others will know from the jump this is nothing more than another so-so “Fancy” retread that’s not nearly as good. Has Britney Spears lost it? Well…the jury is still out, but she’s not as ‘potent’ as she once was. Does Iggy Azalea still have something to prove? Unfair or not, the answer is yes as there are plenty of haters who question her talent. Finally, is this a hit? Probably will get some spins, but don’t it definitely isn’t the next “Uptown Funk!”
After being on top of the world (and the charts) in 2013, Robin Thicke’s world has come crumbling down in 2014. In other words, it’s been a crappy year for Thicke. Robin Thicke separated from wife/longtime sweetheart Paula Patton and even more shamefully released a lackluster album named Paula to “Get Her Back.” Eyes rolled worldwide, as no one was ‘buying’ Thicke’s tricks, or better yet his album.
This week, Paula earned Thicke his lowest album sales this side of The Evolution of Robin Thicke. The Evolution of Robin Thicke initially debuted at #45 on the Billboard 200 selling 20,000 copies, but went on to peak at #5, exceeding its humble beginnings. Paula starts off unremarkably at #9 selling just 24,000 copies. Compared to last year’s smash Blurred Lines, Paula is off by roughly 153,000 copies! Can you say downgrade, Thicke, downgrade?
After The Evolution of Robin Thicke started slow, it gained momentum for the artist spawning #1 R&B hit “Lost Without U.” “Lost Without U” would be the single that ‘set up’ Thicke’s career. “Blurred Lines,” the rare 12-week #1 pop single, would seemingly both restore and breakthrough Thicke’s up-and-down career, giving him his first #1 album and biggest commercial numbers yet. Below are how Robin Thicke’s five albums compare in regards to chart peak and opening sales.
BTW, A Beautiful World, credited to Thicke (as opposed to Robin Thicke), isn’t included in any discussions here.
In regards to singles, often a factor in driving the chart performance of an album, “Blurred Lines” supersedes the success of “Lost Without U.” “Blurred Lines” was highly decorated, more so than “Lost Without U,” which peaked on the pop charts at #14. Otherwise, the rest of Thicke’s moderately successful singles haven’t quite had the same reach. The list below only lists singles that reached both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts.
“Lost Without U” [The Evolution of Robin Thicke] (#14 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Can U Believe” [The Evolution of Robin Thicke] (#99 Hot 100, #15 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Magic” [Something Else] (#54 Hot 100, #6 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Sex Therapy” [Sex Therapy] (#54 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Give It 2 U” featuring Kendrick Lamar [Blurred Lines] (#25 Hot 100, #7 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Blurred Lines” featuring Pharrell Williams & T.I. [Blurred Lines] (#1 Hot 100, #1 R&B/Hip-Hop)
“Get Her Back” [Paula] (#82 as of July 9, Hot 100, #33 R&B/Hip-Hop)
The singles are somewhat telling. Notice that there were no charting Hot 100 singles from December 2011 release Love After War. Given the busy, crowded holiday sales time as well as the restraint of the album itself, it seems as if Love After War didn’t have much to propel it to more enthusiastic sales. “Blurred Lines” indeed was the career boost at just the right time that Thicke needed.
Yet with a hastily released follow-up album, Robin Thicke has killed his own vibe and possibly his career. How many times have artists released the wrong album, not to mention at the worst possible time? Chris Brown’s forgettable Graffiti (2009) comes to mind. Like Thicke, he had a monster album follow-up a less notable one (F.A.M.E., 2011), and then released the horrid, second-rate follow-up (Fortune, 2012).
Comebacks are always possible, but they don’t always work. Ask Mariah Carey, who released a respectable album in Me. I Am Mariah that has been the biggest commercial train wreck of her career. Thicke has put himself in a precarious position. When your career prime has already graced its presence, sometimes other opportunities are ‘no-goes.’
Sam Smith sets the tone for highly anticipated debut In The Lonely Hour
Sam Smith • “Stay With Me” • In The Lonely Hour • Capitol • US Release Date: June 17, 2014 (album)
Okay, let’s get this out of the way first; Sam Smith seems to be pop music’s next big thing. The 22-year old is the latest singer from Britain looking to breakthrough in the United States. This year alone, Britain has brought in some sensational pop/urban talent stateside with John Newman (Tribute) and Daley (Days & Nights). For as much critical acclaim as both those talented young men have received, Sam Smith could be the most likely to breakthrough and succeed.
The singer has slowly and steadily been elevating his profile and has two notable hits helping him out. One of those is “Latch”, in which Smith is the featured vocalist with Disclosure, a Grammy-nominated electronic duo (debut album Settle would loseBest Dance/Electronica Album to eventual album of the year winner Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories). The bigger hit is Smith’s current single, “Stay With Me”.
First things first, I have to get this out. Does anybody else sense a parallel to another British pop/R&B singer from, oh twenty-five years ago or so? If you catch the drift, I’m referencing George Michael, who broke through tremendously stateside with album Faith, which would eventually be awarded the prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year. I’m not saying that Smith and Michael are one and the same – they’re not – but in some respects, the buzz that Smith is receiving seems like a repeat of history. If “Stay With Me” as well as Smith’s EP Nirvanaare any indication of what Smith will unveil on debut LP In The Lonely Hour, then folks, we have a true juggernaut on our hands.
In The Lonely Hour may already raise some eyebrows for folks, given its conception, or a specific part of its conception. Smith revealed the album was about him being in love with a guy who didn’t love him back. For some folks – those more traditional, likely the talking point of Smith’s rationale is the revelation that he is gay. While pop music is a bit more of an accepting genre where sexuality is concerned, it is still no cakewalk. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised in the least – I thought Smith might be gay. Ultimately, sexuality aside, In That Lonely Hour likely should be relatable to anyone who has loved and that love hasn’t been reciprocated back. That is by no means a hetero- nor homosexual issue, but rather a shared experience by almost anybody at some point in their lives. “Stay With Me” epitomizes the sentiment that In The Lonely Hour will convey upon its U.S. release on June 17th.
“Guess it’s true, I’m not good at a one night stand,” sings a reflective, plaintive Smith on the first verse. “But I still need love cause I’m just a man…I don’t want you to leave, will you hold my hand?” On the second verse, Smith continues to question his love/relationship issues: “Why am I so emotional? / No it’s not a good look, gain some self control.” Still, much like the first verse, the second ends with yearning for pleasure, as Smith asks his lover to “…lay with me so it doesn’t hurt”. Essentially, on this simplistic yet touching song, Smith is open about his deficiencies in regards to hooking up and more bigger-picture love, but he still needs to have “someone to love” and fulfill what he needs.
Is “Stay With Me” ‘brand new’? No, not by any means – we’ve been singing songs about failed one-night stands, bad love, and the need for love forever and ever. That said, “Stay With Me,” conveys the sentiment and message pretty well, putting it on a level where anyone can relate to it. If you are a skeptic, don’t let sexuality cloud your mind on this cut or Smith’s upcoming debut album; this is good stuff right here. Smith definitely has the pipes and emotional delivery to captivate by all means. The backing choir definitely doesn’t hurt his cause either – throw the production in that mix as well. If anything, “Stay With Me” further amplifies excitement for In The Lonely Hour. You get only blessings from me Sam – blessings.