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How Sam Smith's New Album Accurately Tackles Heartbreak and Depression

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Sam Smith recently dropped their latest album, “Love Goes,” and the songs are so painstakingly beautiful that everyone should listen. From anger to sadness to healing, the album covers it all in a fashion that only Sam Smith can pull off.

From the first opening song, it’s easy to tell this is going to be an emotionally deep album, as Smith sings about what they so badly wanted to do in hard times but couldn’t due to their unexpected fame. The song, “Young,” details all of the things Smith wanted to do but couldn’t due to their instant, unexpected fame at the age of 21. According to Apple Music, they state “There was this constant feeling of wanting to be normal and do normal things, and feeling like I can’t because of the pressure on me,” and I don’t think you need to be Sam Smith to relate.

For example, I struggle with bipolar disorder and this song hit home in a different way for me. For me, I want to do the things Smith mentions — smoke a joint, have a drink, go out and just generally be impulsive — but I know I can’t. For my mental health’s sake, I can’t do a lot of “normal” things. Even staying up late or getting drunk on a girls night out, I can’t do due to the implications of mania it causes.

Later into the album, Smith goes into their “favorite song they’ve ever done.”

“It’s about that moment you hear through the grapevine that the ex that hurt you is now with someone else,” they say. The pop-ballad talks about the process Smith went through as they face they’re “not the one, never was the one” and realizes, “God, I dodged a bullet.” And once again, you don’t need to be as famous as Sam Smith to relate to that moment of healing and realization where you finally feel free. You finally realize you deserve better and that the person you were with simply wasn’t the one for you – and that’s OK.

The real song I think a lot of Mighty readers will relate to, however is “So Serious,” a pop song that deals with depression and Smith’s own mental health. It’s one of my favorite styles of talking about mental health and depression because it’s actually quite an upbeat, very pop-sounding song but the lyrics hit deep and will most likely resonate with those of us with a mental illness the most out of all of the songs on this album.

My personal favorite line is, “And I gotta be out of my mind, ‘cause the second that I’m happy and I’m fine, suddenly there’s violins and movie scenes and cryin’ rivers in the street, and God, I don’t know why I get so serious sometimes.” I think anyone with a mental illness will just get this chorus. Because it truly is how mental illness works.

Depression doesn’t always need to be filled with sadness and dreariness. Much to some people’s disbelief, you can have moments of happiness and still be depressed. But as I have those moments, feeling relieved of my depression for a while, this wave can just hit me out of no where. One second I feel like I’m on top of the world, and the next second I’m under it. I feel “So Serious” nails that feeling on the head.

Smith describes the song and its lyrics as being, “Some of the deepest on this album,” due to it talking about their mental health and depression. It’s about, “how you think everything’s OK, then you’re crying in the street asking yourself ‘Why am I so serious? Why am I so dark? Why do I get myself down?’” They continue to elaborate that, “This song is saying, ‘I’m beating myself up. Is anyone else beating themselves up?’ Because what you need when you’re sad is you need to know that other people are in it with you.”

And that might be the truest statement I’ve heard from a musician regarding the pitfalls of depression and overwhelming sadness that comes with it. At rock bottom, I don’t always need a pep talk. Sometimes, I just need to commiserate and know that I’m not alone, and I think that the upbeat nature of this song is something many fans will find extremely therapeutic.

Because, let’s face it — songs about mental health are easy to turn into ballads. It’s easy to make them sound deep and poetic — I would argue it’s much easier than making an upbeat pop song that conveys the deepness of depression. In this album, Smith excels at relaying the message of depression, the desire to not be alone in your feelings and making the beat one that can almost be a mood changer.

When I picture myself in a depressed state, I can see myself turning on this song to both boost my mood and validate my feelings. I can see it giving me the comfort of not being alone in my feelings while simultaneously making me feel just a little more carefree — like I’m not carrying the world on my shoulders.

And I think that’s what a lot of us need in the depths of depression. We already have the ballads, we have the sad songs but we don’t have the upbeat, mood-booster songs that help people like me cope with depression.

For me, I love ballads and sad songs. I really do, but I can’t listen to them when I’m in a state of deep depression because they only make my mood go lower. My “Feel Better, Dude” playlist I’ve created on Spotify for hard times actually consists almost entirely of upbeat songs that boost my mood, at least temporarily. “So Serious” has already been added to that playlist.

I think this is the song many people have been needing for a while. In fact, I’d go a step further and say that this album is something we’ve been needing for a while. I know personally, I’ve been waiting for an album that wasn’t only about love, but also the riveting, roller coaster of emotions that comes with it, and that’s what Sam Smith provided with this album.

If you’re looking for an album that hits deep in your “feels”, this album is overall a can’t miss. I’d suggest listening immediately. Between the heartache, the bitterness, the longing and  the sadness, it’s an album you won’t want to miss.

Image courtesy of Sam Smith’s Youtube Video

Originally published: November 2, 2020
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