Friday, October 30th, 2020

Sam Smith – Diamonds

Their highest-scoring solo single to date — truly, a “Diamonds” in the rough.


Wayne Weizhen Zhang: Moderation suits Sam Smith well: the leisurely but luxurious hooks in “Diamonds” are couture-fitted for their vocal tenor, and ready to set every dancefloor ablaze. 

Alex Clifton: Oh thank god, Sam has proved they can do better music than the weird gay Olympic duet they did with Demi a few months ago. I would like a short musical set in a divorce court for this song. It’s got energy and movement that the aforementioned song lacks, and also tackles the intensity of having one’s heart broken much better. I hope Smith’s heart heals soon — breakups are never fun — but I’m also proud that they were able to wrench a banger out of their sadness.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Sam Smith has made boring music for so long that I forgot what I originally liked about them. On “Diamonds” they don’t completely recapture the off-kilter joy of their early features, but instead they slot in as a sort of Jessie Ware-like dancefloor presence, confident and cool over a beat that matches their energy. It’s not the most best dance pop track of the year, but it’s anything but boring.

William John: Momentum was high leading into Sam Smith’s third album campaign. The likes of “Promises“, “Dancing With A Stranger” and “How Do You Sleep?” were ineludible on radio; each exhibited a newly-found confidence, and were more daring and interesting than anything Smith had released since perhaps the early track “Safe With Me“. Then came the pandemic, and the unfortunate timing of a staid ballad with a deathly metaphor; the less said about the subsequent Demi Lovato duet, the better, and when things reached the point of Coldplay covers, it suddenly felt like everything of promise had been squandered. “Diamonds” is an unexpected course correction, and seems to be climbing the charts, at least in the UK; hopefully its commercial success encourages Smith and their team toward the view that a kick drum is not to be feared, though one wonders whether it would’ve reached an even larger audience had it not appeared so late in the piece.

Scott Mildenhall: Minted popstars barracking voiceless exes over alleged materialism is always shaky ground, but Sam Smith has often seemed like someone who’d be tone-deaf to its apparent power imbalance. “I Will Survive” this is not, but the marriage of familiar monochrome balladry and a moody bassline is solid; further, welcome evidence that “Can’t Feel My Face” is one of the most influential songs of the past few years.

Alfred Soto: I wish they’d said “The special things I ball” rather than “bought” in the first verse — they needs less pristine wishes rattling around their head more than fresher beats.

Thomas Inskeep: Smith sings with their usual histrionics, the song starts slow and then explodes into aggressively average dance-pop on its chorus (and back again), and it’s all forgotten five minutes later.

Reader average: [5] (3 votes)

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