With a string of awards ranging from the Grammys to the Oscars, English singer Sam Smith has consolidated his position in the music industry. His hit song “Writing’s On The Wall” won him the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in 2016. If 2008 was Amy Winehouse’s year and Adele dominated 2012, then 2015 was truly all about Sam Smith who won Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Record and Best Song for “Stay With Me” at the 57th Grammy Awards.
With a sublime voice with incredible range, Sam Smith is able to convey emotion through every lyric of his songs. Sam Smith has been a consistent advocate for the LGBT+ community since he first talked about his sexual orientation. In a 2017 interview with The Sunday Times, he came out as genderqueer. He even dedicated his Oscar to the LGBT+ community. With the pop icon’s birthday on May 19, let’s take a look at his 10 hit songs that can stand the test of time:
10. “Like I Can”
A common theme in Sam Smith music focuses on the love triangle dynamic. Carrying on the theme of being the outsider looking in, this song features lyrics like, “He could be a sinner, or a gentleman/ He could be a preacher when your soul is damned, He could be a lawyer on a witness stand/ But he’ll never love you like I can.”
9. “Money On My Mind”
Proving Sam Smith can do more than just songs that break your heart, this is an upbeat dance track that shows the diversity of his music. The chorus is actually pretty catchy, and features lyrics that are refreshing. Rather than the music being all about the money, Sam sings, “I don’t have, Money on my mind, Money on my mind/ I do it for, I do it for the love.”
8. “I’ve Told You Now”
“I’ve Told You Know” is a track off of Sam Smith‘s album, In the Lonely Hour. While Sam Smith never refrains from letting out those vulnerabilities in his lyrics, this is a song that really lets down his walls. Its about when somebody tells the person they love that they love them even after a lot of turmoil – “Oh, the truth spills out/ And oh I, I’ve told you now”.
Smith first hit the charts as the featured singer on the 2012 Disclosure song “Latch”. The lyrics of this song show utter devotion, which is a great change from the despair often felt in Sam Smith tracks. Lyrics feature heartfelt lines like, “You lift my heart up when the rest of me is down/ You, you enchant me even when you’re not around/ If there are boundaries, I will try to knock them down/ I’m latching on, babe, now I know what I have found.”
6. “Too Good at Goodbyes”
Released in 2017 as the lead single from his second studio album, The Thrill of It All, the song reached number one in the UK and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the charts in many other countries. Jon Blistein from Rolling Stone called Smith’s comeback song “poignant” and wrote, “The piano-led song finds the singer pulling away from a volatile relationship. ‘But every time you hurt me, the less that I cry / And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry,’ he sings, soulfully.
5. “Leave Your Lover”
The vertex of all love triangle songs, this is a song that showcases the incredible range of Sam Smith. This song from his album, In the Lonely Hour is inspired by his unrequited love for a person. He explained to Interview magazine, “My album focuses on unrequited love quite a lot because I don’t think it’s spoken about enough in music. I’ve been through it myself and I found it hard to find songs that were about that, so I’ve definitely tried to make that a part of my album.”
4. “Writing’s On The Wall”
This song was featured in the James Bond film, Spectre and won him the Oscar for Best Original Song. While it didn’t gain as much success in the United States, it became hugely popular in the UK Singles Chart. “Writing’s On The Wall” is also the first Bond theme song to hit No.1 in the UK Singles Chart.
3. “Lay Me Down”
Taking on a definite sombre tone, the video depicts a funeral and the lyrics coincide with the feeling of loss. Lyrics include lines like, “Told me not to cry when you were gone, But the feeling’s overwhelming, it’s much too strong. Can I lay by your side? Next to you, you.” While the song picks up the tempo towards the middle, the words still strike a chord with those who have lost a loved one.
2. “I’m Not The Only One”
With so many artists claiming that the best songs come from the worst heartbreak, “I’m Not The Only One” tells the story of someone beating cheated on. The video is more like a mini film, depicting a housewife trying her best to play the part, even though she is aware of her husband having an affair. Depicting both sides of the story, this is one of the hits that put Sam Smith on the list of favourites for men and women all around the world.
1. “Stay With Me”
“Stay With Me” is a gospel-inspired ballad that shows that even a man having a one night stand can harbour feelings of loneliness and longing. The chorus includes the lyrics, “Oh, won’t you stay with me? ‘Cause you’re all I need. This ain’t love, it’s clear to see. But darling, stay with me.” The song has become Smith’s most successful song to date, peaking at number one in the UK Singles Chart, topping the charts in Canada and New Zealand, and reaching number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It has also reached top 10 status in over twelve countries worldwide.
(By Sharada Bastia)