Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2014

Stay With Me by Sam Smith

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Smith delivers a classic expressive soulful song about unrequited love.

Song: Stay With Me
Artist: Sam Smith
Album: In The Lonely Hour
Songwriter: S.Smith, J.Napier, W.Phillips (T. Petty, J. Lynne)
Producer: J.Napes, Fitzmaurice, R. Jerkins

A plea to one’s romantic interest to keep the possibility of a love relationship open though it’s obvious the feeling is not being reciprocated.

The singer pleads for just a little more time on the sinking ship of his love boat. These nights never seem to go to plan I don't want you to leave, will you hold my hand? Oh, won't you stay with me? 'Cause you're all I need This ain't love it's clear to see But darling, stay with me Why am I so emotional? No it's not a good look, gain some self control And deep down I know this never works But you can lay with me so it doesn't hurt Oh, won't you stay with me? 'Cause you're all I need This ain't love it's clear to see But darling, stay with me

A sparse mid-tempo gospel infused 16th-note groove underscores a sad soulful accompaniment.

A highly emotional melody with good contrast between the verse and chorus gives Smith the perfect vehicle to express his intense feelings. The chorus melody is reminiscent of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.”

Simple major diatonic chords, mostly gospel sounding I and IV with added soulful ii and vi minor chords that highlight the recording’s emotional depth. Verse I IV I ii IV I Chorus vi IV I vi IV I vi IV I V vi IV I

Verse Chorus Verse Chorus Instrumental Chorus Chorus [ABABABB]

Keyboard vamp with gospel chords.

The production is stark, simple, transparent, and highly effective in communicating Smith’s intense disappointment.

Smith sings with strong authentic emotion and conviction. His soulfulness rises in the chorus and especially in the falsetto riffs over the instrumental section.

Predicted Longevity
“Stay With Me” was one of the best recordings of 2014 hands down. It has already won awards and has seen covers. This soulful classic will be around for a very long time. 5 stars on the “Cat Scale” from 1 to 5.

Album Cover: In The Lonely Hour

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