“It’s the most personal song I’ve ever written in my life,” he said during an appearance on BBC Radio. The singer had gone through a breakup and started indulging in destructive tendencies.
The song itself is minimalistic, with the sole accompanying instrument being a piano – to only accentuate Smith’s voice which yearns for better times with lyrics like “I’ve been burning since you left.”
“I let everything go in that song,” Smith said. “And that song to me is about fame as well and the responsibilities I felt and the pressure and my relationship with my voice and how I was a bit rebellious last year. … It’s about self-destruction, that song.”
As for the whole album, “This album doesn’t sound pretty to me. I want this to be more gritty. I want it to sound older, a bit more uncomfortable,” Smith told Rolling Stone when discussing The Thrill of it All. “In the Lonely Hour is a gin and tonic with your friends. The new album is a whiskey by yourself in a dark room, at night, thinking about life. I went into a deep place. I don’t think I’m going to go into that place ever again, because it got a bit too deep.” He’s been doing a great job of accomplishing his goal so far.
The Thrill of It All will be released on Nov. 3, but until then, listen to Sam Smith’s new favorite song, “Burning:”