Looking up Sam Smith’s music videos on YouTube is a similar experience to deep-scrolling your crush’s Instagram page. The further you go, the more the filters change. The singles, ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ and ‘Unholy,’ off freshly out Gloria, lure one in through the richness of reds and pinks. It is an entirely different voyage from the diluted tones that colorize their other tracks, such as ‘Love Me More,’ which came out only nine months ago, FYI.
It all ties into the musical nature of Gloria, a 13-track album including two interludes. They all share the reminder that self-love is truly the answer, and in Sam’s case, it’s the celebration of their queerness and the pop icons they idolize that helps them get into that zone.
Sure, some songs lead us into their camp psyche, largely inspired by Bob Fosse, which we’ll discuss later. However, to get a taste of what this album could look like on tour (“I’m putting on a proper theater, pop performance. It’s going to be wild,” Sam tells Zane Lowe for Apple Music 1), we should probably firstly delve deeper into the ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ music video.
No, really, ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’
Calvin Harris produced the track, and Tanu Muino directed the music video. Though it may start as an anti-friends-with-benefits anthem, it quickly turns into Sam imaginatively grabbing one of their four Grammy awards to slam down that regardless of the hearse, they’re here. Their creative vision doesn’t intend to go anywhere. It’s much like what a scholar does when marking their
land Ashridge House but with much more pizazz. It starts with the fashion; the overly grandiose, fluffy pink coat that can smuggle in more than just Kim Petras, the feather-crested headgear, and even the heart cut-out corsets highlighting toned bums that dance rhythmically with its beat.
It’s meant to start those 240-character debates and headline spins, trashy yet entirely glam as well, a total serve not only to body positivity but to the cycling of fashionable trends. If this is only for the music video (a total shakeup from their usual jeans and tee combo, by the way), then one can only guess what sort of frocks would come out when a venue’s spotlight shines down.
Tributes To Pop Icons
Of course, some of those styles have also been worn by the most stylish of female icons, and Sam plays into that through their choreography. At the one-minute mark is a tribute to Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The iconic pink dress isn’t there, opting for a black gown that’s reminiscent of the chandelier acrobats in the movie. Even more so, the guards in the scene before pop up on the staircase in their black attire while still showing pops of pink through sashes, so it could very well be a hint towards that feminine energy Sam sings about in ‘Gloria.’
There’s also the tribute to Lady Gaga’s ‘Alejandro’ that if you break out into the ‘L’ dance move during your ordinary daily routine, at least it’s a surefire way to spot another Sam fan in your midst. Both of these occurrences, though paying homage to something already brilliant, bring touches to Sam’s theatrics.
Bob Fosse, The Sensei Of Musicals
It isn’t just those Sam sang with as a teenager in a presumed hairbrush microphone like everyone else that inspires them, but rather those brainiac choreographers and directors who get involved behind the cameras. Bob Fosse, most notably known for Chicago, which is coincidingly Sam’s favorite, is credited with being an inspiration for the ‘Unholy’ music video. In The Making of ‘Unholy’ (Vevo Footnotes), director Floria Sigismondi notes:
For inspiration, I looked to Bob Fosse’s films, like Liza Minnelli in ‘Cabaret.’ Light inspiration came from ‘Moulin Rouge.’ Sam’s favorite is ‘Chicago.’ So, it really was the world of musicals thrown on its head.
Sam brought up Bob’s influence on ‘Unholy’ once again during the Zane Lowe interview when asked about what the tour will look like, so it’ll only make sense that shots from his projects will be pinned upon Sam’s touring mood board.
The Gloria Of It All
There wouldn’t be a Gloria tour without the other songs helping fill out the minutes spent with the audience. The mentorship also leans towards those with collaborations we have yet to talk about. It’s in ‘Gimmie’ featuring Koffee and Jessie Reyez, the final chance to launch into a conversation before the album closes with Ed Sheeran’s ‘Who We Love,’ and a standout on the bass-heavy ‘Perfect’ that has Jessie Reyez’s vocals once again.
Although the final one has made its recommendation rounds on Twitter, it is very much a track that slips underneath the surface yet is so good that you question why. We’re just really hoping Sam brings the theatrical energy to the lyric, “I wear my flaws like jewellery / And I’m dripping.” If the same thinking process brought from the music videos is catered to the tour, with Gloria in hand, we just know it will be epic!
Gloria’s full track-list is below!
- ‘Love Me More’
- ‘No God’
- ‘Hurting Interlude’
- ‘Lose You’
- ‘Perfect feat. Jessie Reyez’
- ‘Unholy feat. Kim Petras’
- ‘How To Cry’
- ‘Six Shots’
- ‘Gimme’ feat. Koffee & Jessie Reyez
- ‘Dorothy’s Interlude’
- ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’
We’re absolutely buzzing for Sam Smith to get back on tour, and we know you are, too, so you can buy tickets here as well as listen to the album Gloria for a pre-warmer. What’s your favorite track? Let us know on Twitter @thehoneypop, and follow along on our Instagram and Facebook for more Sam updates.