A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that "Stay With Me" is the third single from Sam Smith's debut studio album, In the Lonely Hour. The soul ballad and accompanying video portray an emotional man who feels hurt and lonely after a one-night stand and pleads with an unseen person to "stay with me." It's clear from the video and lyrics like "deep down I know this never works" that he's not necessarily looking for love, but he's candid about the emotional void he feels after a night of meaningless sex and calls himself out for his lack of self-control. The lyrics mention the "one-night stand" and the video shows him quietly leaving while a lover remains asleep in bed. In the video, the camera scans a blanket-covered body and briefly shows a shoulder, but the viewer does not learn whether the singer's lover is male or female. At the beginning of the video, a homeless person is shown sitting on the pavement and smoking.
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What's the story?
In STAY WITH ME, the third single from his album In the Lonely Hour, Sam Smith claims he's "not good at a one-night stand" and repeats the refrain "stay with me." Even though he claims "this ain't love'" and calls himself out for being too emotional and lacking self-control, it's clear he just wants someone to stick around and form a deeper emotional connection. The video for this ballad shows London streets in the early morning, where couples appear in the clubbing clothes they wore the night before, and a homeless man sits and smokes on the pavement. The singer is shown quietly gathering his clothes and leaving the apartment of a lover who is still asleep in bed. Smith is then shown in three different places and personas in the video: as the lover who leaves and walks up the street; as a single person facing a choir of beautiful men and women singing "Stay with me"; and as the person in the apartment who was left behind.
Is it any good?
Sam Smith has a rich, versatile voice, and he displays talent and depth on "Stay With Me." This is a highly emotional song about the need for human connection, and it will certainly resonate with teens who are first exploring the possibilities of relationships and sex. The song is simply arranged with mostly beats and keyboards; dynamics come from Smith's voice and the interjection of choral singing, and from a string section that blows up the choruses even more towards the end. This song and video explore the gray area between true love and just sex in a way that's musically and emotionally appealing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about relationships. What does this song and video say about sex and feelings? How is it different from other ballads you've heard?
The video for "Stay With Me" doesn't let the viewer know whether the singer's partner was a man or woman. Why do you think that is the case?
Sam Smith also had success performing with Disclosure on the song "Latch." How does that song differ from this one in its attitude toward relationships?
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