Sam Smith Rides Mediocrity To World Superstardom And Epitomizes Our Societal Devolution
The LBT Arts Critic Questions The Talent Of Brit Crooner Who Has Taken The World By Storm But Might Be Lacking Musical Chops
By EDUARDO LOPEZ-LARMO
Published October 26, 2014
Ebola remains highly contained in the U.S. Indeed, today our worst contagion comes not from Africa but from our mother country – England. By now nearly everyone has been exposed to the monstrosity known as “Sam Smith.” Although Smith the individual seems humble and well-intentioned, his grating, nasely falsetto voice serves a stark reminder of our culture’s descent into rank mediocrity.
We quickly have become a civilization accustomed to talent no greater than the untrained efforts of deluded Millenials who form an endless procession onto our talent variety shows. These young people hail from the generation that received only encouragement and never learned how to pay its dues or accept its limitations.[Am I the only one watching these talent programs – or snippets of them – that wonders whether these people are really the best talents we can get on television? 20 years ago almost all of them would have had the humility to stay home.]
Smith follows a long tradition of white Brits imitating black American blues and soul singers. Much of The Rolling Stones’ music is hijacked blues. Eric Clapton lifted whole cloth African-American blues music. Sadly or not, whites seem to sell black music better than black people do.
Frequently, whites can perform it well and even add something to it. The problem with Smith is that he brings nothing to the table but a gimmicky, light falsetto voice. He’s like the Bee Gees, only really annoying and without the harmonizing and music-writing ability. And without the catchy disco grooves. Oh, any without the healthy ’70s mane of Barry Gibb. Alright, he’s nothing like the Bee Gees. Basically, he’s just really annoying.
The hit “Stay With Me” is the same 20 notes over and over again in a plodding procession of machine-generated beats. A piano student that can play “Chopsticks” could play the piano chords on this song. Smith’s vocalizations are just trite pleadings to a sex partner that does not share the same feelings. Rather than empathize with Smith, I want to smack him. “Develop some self-respect, you pathetic blubber sack!”
Another hit tune – “I’m Not The One” – follows the same format. The hook is slightly more palatable, but it repeats over and over again. The lyrics also are whiney pleadings for a love interest to not dump his ass set to beats and hand claps that have as much rhythmic character as a metronome.
Also, what great vocalist sings a spare ballad and requires a black choir to come in and provide some dimension and power (and sonic cover)? Without the choir in “Stay With Me,” even novice listeners would wonder what the hubbub is about.