There’s a good chance you’ve heard Sam Smith on two mega hits in the past year— Disclosure’s “Latch” and Naughty Boy’s "La La La," both seething dance tracks that feature Smith’s distinct, soulful voice. He dropped an EP, Nirvana, this past year and is now prepping to release his full-length debut, In The Lonely Hour, this coming May. If he hasn’t blown up already, he’s about to.
We sifted through the few tracks that Smith has released so far to find the best that he has to offer, and you don’t have to go very far to hear how special he is as a comprehensive artist. Modern R&B is in good hands.
“Safe With Me”Need a wake-up song? Over what sounds like an updated, almost derivative Timbaland beat (Two Inch Punch is on the production), Smith catches a short melody that hooks you in and lifts you up at the same time. He packs the perfect pop punch in just over three minutes by using his versatile voice to craft a potent melody. You won’t be mad that this is stuck in your head.
“Latch”Disclosure’s smash hit is where you’ve probably heard Sam Smith. The mix of electronic music and R&B or rap is something we’ll only be seeing more of (Vic Mensa has collaborated with Disclosure already), and Smith hits the sweet spot at every turn. Check the acoustic version for a stripped down, keys and strings-only version that accentuates his vocals.
“Together”This is fucking funky, like an alien just dropped acid and stepped into the barbershop with Craig David on the speakers. "Together" is a collaboration with Nile Rodgers, Disclosure and James Napier, yet the song clocks in at under 2:30, making for a compact groove. We need more music like this.
“Berlin (Live Lounge)”Over what sounds like King Krule strings, Smith beautifully covers "Berlin" by RY X in the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, stretching his vocal chords and proving how effective he can be with a live band at his back. This is one of his best performances that many haven’t heard yet.
“Money On My Mind”Smith’s biggest solo single, "Money On My Mind" is sped up for optimum running tempo, slowing down only for a powerful bridge that lowers the pitch on his catchy chorus. It might be hard to even recognize he’s saying "Money On My Mind" at first, but that’s because he turns his voice into something of an instrument itself, squeaking out the four words that end up being addictive. This is proof that no one else sounds like Smith right now.
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