Sam Smith’s last album deserved more love. While The Thrill of It All (review here) may have been a bit too ballad-heavy, it was a gorgeous album. On their new single, “How Do You Sleep,” Sam intensifies the tempo and crafts a truly great track.
On the song’s verses Sam croons about the struggle to move on from a former love (“I’ve gotta leave and start the healing/But when you move like that I just want to stay”). Their vocals are characteristically great; Sam has this way of sounding simultaneously delicate and powerful which helps drive home the emotional heft of their lyricism. The pre-chorus is the only part of the song that is problematic. The pacing of the song lends itself for a faster pre-chorus, but Sam decides to stay in the ballad lane. The choice is a tad unorthodox, but ultimately does not detract from the song.
Finally, there’s the drop. Sam is no stranger to electronic and dance-influenced music, some of their best tracks (“Latch,” “Omen”) are in that vein. On “How Do You Sleep,” the drop draws ever-so-slightly from trap music which creates a fresh sound for Sam. Seeing Sam grow musically has been really inspiring, and “How Do You Sleep” and “Dancing with a Stranger” (review here), show that they are really coming into their own as a fully-fledged pop star.