Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekend Diversion: Sam Smith

I said the other day that Sam Smith, the 22-year-old 6x Grammy Nominated English singer-songwriter, is one of my current favourite singers. So, who better for my last Weekend Diversion post for this year?

The video above is Sam’s fifth and current single, “Like I Can”. As with all the videos in this post, it’s from his debut album, In The Lonely Hour. That album is the second biggest-selling album in the USA for 2014, reaching Number 2 in the USA, Australia, and Canada, as well as Number 1 in the UK and in New Zealand. The album has gone 3x Platinum in the UK, as well as Platinum in New Zealand, Australia, and the USA, as well as Gold in Canada.

Put more simply, the album has done very well.

Sam came out as gay shortly before the album was released, partly because he felt it would help people better understand his songs, and because he felt honesty was best. When I saw the video below, for “Leave You Lover”, the first one of his I saw, I already knew he was gay. Because of that, I thought the video’s visual narrative was unexpected, until I saw the very end. People who only hear the song can have it mean whatever they want, and people who see the video will know what it’s really about. This particular song isn’t a single, it’s just the first of his video’s I saw, and one of the many songs on the album that I like.

The next video was also the fourth single, “I’m Not The Only One”. It’s pretty obvious what the song is about, and the video narrative strongly reinforces the song. And yet, this video, too, leaves questions at its end.

“I’m Not The Only One” reached Number 5 in the USA, 3 in New Zealand, 2 in Canada, 20 in Australia and 9 in the UK. It was Platinum in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, and Gold in the UK.

The final video is of “Stay With Me”, his third single from his album, and the most successful single so far: The song hit Number 2 in the USA, Number 1 in New Zealand, Number 2 in Canada, Number 11 in Australia and Number 3 in the UK. The single went 4x Platinum in the USA, 3x Platinum in Australia and in Canada, 2x Platinum in New Zealand and Gold in the UK.

There are a few other versions of this song on Sam’s VEVO Channel on YouTube, including a really good version with Mary J. Blige that I almost posted, but I decided that since this post is about Sam’s music, I should stick with the official versions.

While I like Sam’s debut album, I’m not terribly fond of the second single, “Money On My Mind”. But, what do I know? It hit Number 1 in the UK, where it went Platinum, and reached Number 12 in New Zealand, though only 51 in Australia. It didn’t chart in either Canada or the USA, but it did make it to Number 7 on the “Bubbling Under” Billboard chart, which basically extends their “Hot 100”.

So, that’s my final Weekend Diversion for this year. This is another category of post that got neglected in 2014; maybe I’ll do better next year. After all, sharing what we like and love is part of what having a personal journal blog is all about.

Update: In the comments for this post, Roger Green pointed me to Sam’s interview on CBS Sunday Morning, which I of course didn’t see. I think it’s a really good profile of him, so I’m adding that interview below:


rogerogreen said...

I had no idea who he was until the God Only Knows video. Right around that time, there was a piece on him on CBS Sunday Morning, which you should check out if you can access it.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks! I thought that was a really good interview, so I've added it to the post. The show isn't broadcast in New Zealand, of course, so I appreciate the tip.

Also, for anyone who missed it, Roger's referring to an all-start remake of the 1966 Beach Boys classic, "God Only Knows", made for the launch of BBC Music: http://youtu.be/XqLTe8h0-jo

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Also, The Guardian had an article about it, and identified everyone who was in it, which is rather helpful.


Tim Drake said...

Arthur, I found this totally interesting. Thanks for posting, and Happy Holiday to you and Nigel.

Jhonn Scott said...

That looks like a
great show! Soo excited to see Sam Smith in concert !!!

Sam Smith Tickets