It’s been a while since Sam Smith made us use up all our Kleenex. The king of the sad song returns with Too Good at Goodbyes – a single which the 25-year-old says is all about “getting good at getting dumped”. For those who have yet to listen to the new release: think Lay Me Down with a more driving rhythm.
When it comes to any Sam Smith track, the tears flow when it becomes all too relatable. In the pre-chorus, Sam sings: “I’m never gonna let you close to me/Even though you mean the most to me/’Cause every time I open up, it hurts/So I’m never gonna get too close to you/Even when I mean the most to you/In case you go and leave me in the dirt.” It’s a form of protectionism and numbness which most of us have, at some point, felt after a turbulent relationship. In the track, Sam’s become accustomed to break-ups after experiencing them so many times. No matter how many times we have split with someone, Smith once again manages to capture some of the rawest emotions felt at the time with his soft and soulful vocals which are sung from the heart.
Light piano chords and finger clicks set the tempo, keeping things nice and stripped-back for Smith to take centre stage. Yet again, the structural aspect of the song remains similar to the artist’s previous work. The fuzzy, lower tones with the occasional high note flow through the verses, leading up to a chorus packed with Smith’s traditional, impressive and high-pitched vocals. The choir in the background and fluttering violins are two go-to methods for Sam to further pull at our heartstrings, and they work perfectly. To finish it all off, Smith repeats the pre-chorus on a much purer level. With nothing but brief piano chords in the background to maintain a tempo, the singer rounds off the single in the honest and truest way.
After a long break, it’s a phenomenal return from Sam Smith. In the build-up to the release, the Stay with Me singer said he ‘poured [his] heart and soul into this record’. It’s only the first single, but it’s clear that Sam’s exploring deeper emotions in his eagerly anticipated sophomore album.