This track came to me through Vh1 in 2013 and one of the reasons for me to notice it was the beautiful lion like Chow Pei in the music video. This track by Naughty Boy (a.k.a Shahid Khan) also has some shades of Bollywood sounds (the hook ‘La La La’ in a child’s voice) which attracted me to it. I didn’t know of ‘the Sam Smith’ then and this song became even more special when I discovered that it was the him all along!
The music starts of with innocent, gentle synth notes followed by an unexpected la la- na na in a child’s voice. It’s interesting that Sam isn’t singing the hook. The switch between his and the child’s voice lends a unique sonic contrast while also realizing the childish escapism from the unpleasantness of life and its blows. Sam Smith’s beautiful voice does full justice to the underlying angst of the lyric. The music compliments the vocals letting him say everything he has to without ever taking away from it.
At first listen, this track seems like it’s about coping with an abusive relationship by blocking someone out but after a few listens it appears to be about denial and escapism. There seems to be a new element in the relationship (new person, new messiah) which the singer is not willing to accept. Ironically, he does confess that he’s rather be a coward and not confront the ongoing ruin of the relationship. I find it strange that he is so miserable yet would rather drown his partner out than be the one to pull away from the near dead relationship.
Like an unhappy bird trapped in a cage of his own attachment, locked shut by his own cowardice.