I really only know a couple of things about British pop sensation Sam Smith. One is that he did a song with the DJ act Disclosure called “Latch,” of which I’m rather fond. Another is that he sang the indisputably worst song ever from a James Bond movie–and when I say worst, I mean a terrible, awful, over the top piece of caterwauling that sounds like two stoned cats in an alley who can’t decide if they’re mating or fighting. It’s so bad it makes Madonna’s song from Die Another Day almost listenable by comparison. It also has the rather cliché title of “Writing’s On the Wall,” which is rather inexplicable as the film it comes from is called Spectre. If John Barry and Don Black can come up with with a song called “Thunderball,” certainly Smith could have worked the actual movie title into his ditty–couldn’t he?
Naturally, Smith took home an Oscar for Best Original Song. Click here if you want to hear it, and if you dare.
Alas, this post is not a lament on the injustices of the Academy, or even their questionable taste–although that might make for some fun reading at a later time, what with all the sexual harassment revelations pouring out of Hollywood like a tsunami out of some Roland Emmerich eco-disaster movie. No, we’re here because of Sam Smith, who recently had an ill-conceived conversation with the New York Times whilst promoting his new album. Smith expressed a certain, ah, hope that even David Bowie would have been loath to consider in his Berlin Trilogy days. As I can’t quite bring myself to type the words, I’ll just let the Times Twitter feed explain it:
Sam Smith, the British pop star, hopes his new album will continue to help you "have sex with your sadness" https://t.co/zsr59h2zjN
— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) November 1, 2017
I’ll confess that when I first saw the tweet with picture, I had the horrible notion that somehow Morrissey had gone completely around the bend this time–but, thankfully, it was only Smith apparently trying to ape Morrissey’s coiff. Kind of apropos, since Morrissey used to front for a band called the Smiths, although that outfit was much better at expressing odd concepts without inspiring utter horror in their vulnerable listeners. “And on cold leather seats, well it suddenly struck me I just might die with a smile on my face after all” strikes me as far more sensible than attempting coitus with my own sorrow. How would one even do such a thing? How would you know if your partner ever achieved climax? And would Xanax be an effective prophylactic? The questions boggle the mind.
At any rate, I suppose we should commend Sam Smith for exploring bold new avenues in auto-erotica. They actually seem quite tame at a time when you can select from a smorgasbord of 52 different genders on Facebook–just one wobble outside the orbit of normal, actually. I do wish he’d try something different with the hair, though. Perhaps something more akin to Simon Le Bon from the Seven and the Ragged Tiger era or that chap from a Flock of Seagulls. If you’re going to bring the 80s back stylistically, one might as well go all the way.