Have your tears from Adele’s “Hello” finally dried? Good, because another British balladeer is back with new music as well. Sam Smith debuted “Drowning Shadows” on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show on Monday. It’s the first new material — aside from 007 theme song, “Writing’s On The Wall” — since 2014’s In The Lonely Hour.
“‘Drowning Shadows’ the song is the saddest song I’ve ever written and the least radio-friendly song I’ve ever written,” Smith told Lowe. “I wanted to leave people on this artistic little song and this moment. This is proper… really dark.” He also previewed the song on Instagram and wrote, “Brace yourself…. It’s a sad one. But I’m very proud of this song. It’s insanely personal to me.”
Smith said he wrote the track before “Stay With Me,” and other songs on In The Lonely Hour but they couldn’t get the production just right for that album. “I always loved it but something didn’t happen right. Something didn’t work. I thought of it recently when we thought about the repackage and we did it with piano,” he said. Smith also said that the track was about him getting into a taxi on his way home and coming to a crossroads. “One would lead to gay clubs and one would go home. I was in such a lonely sad place, I’d have to decide whether to stay out or go home.”
The song is part of Smith’s In The Lonely Hour: Drowning Shadows Edition. “This is a present directly from me to my fans,” he wrote on Instagram when announcing the collection. He called it his “final bow before my second album.”
The edition is a two-disc set that will feature the new track, bonus versions of older songs, and new covers. Along with an acoustic rendition of “Omen,” his new Disclosure single, there will also be a live version of “Latch,” his collab with Mary J. Blige “Stay With Me,” his cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” and more.
During an interview with ET backstage at his CBS Radio’s We Can Survive concert in honor of breast cancer awareness at the end of last month, he said of his upcoming break, “I’m sad, but it also feels right…I’ve been going for three years nonstop and it feels right for me to just go home and just live my life and be a 23-year-old. My love life, the downs and ups, it never stops, so I’m always inspired by stuff like that, but it’d be good to spend some time dating.”