"Stay with Me" (CD Single)

Music review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
"Stay with Me" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Soulful ballad explores emotional void of one-night stands.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

This song explores the human need for emotional connection and lasting relationships, and addresses the loneliness that can result from a meaningless one-night stand. However, despite his emotional pleas, Smith also claims "deep down" to "know this never works," signifying a lack of faith in long-term relationships.

Positive Role Models & Representations

"Stay With Me" is about the emotional needs that aren't fulfilled by a one-night stand, which suggests that sex with a stranger can be sad and unfulfilling -- an important message for anyone to consider, especially for teens engaging in random sex, or for those considering having sex. However, Smith also comes off as self-deprecating and inconsistent, calling himself out for being too emotional and lacking self-control, like it's a bad thing. He also claims to know deep down that real relationships never work out.


The lyrics "Stay With Me" don't include any sexually graphic content, but the song is clearly about a one-night stand that leaves the singer feeling hurt and emotional. In the video, Smith is shown quietly gathering his things and leaving an apartment while a person he spent the night with remains asleep in bed. There is no skin shown, and it's not clear whether the lover is male or female.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A homeless man sitting on the pavement at the beginning of the video smokes a cigarette -- or it could be pot.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEva D. May 28, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byash-6868 May 1, 2020

“Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

**First up, I’d like to say that this article needs to be updated please! Sam goes by the pronoun “they” not “he,” they are non-binary. Thank you! **

Anyway, S... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byEmileeGrace June 10, 2019

Great Voice, almost as great as Matthew Edward Hall!

Sam Smith has a great voice, and almost as great as Matthew Edward Hall. My kids love it.

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?

Music details

  • Artist: Sam Smith
  • Release date: May 18, 2014
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Capitol
  • Genre: R&B/Pop
  • Topics: Friendship
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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