Track Review: Emeli Sandé, ‘Hurts’
British pop singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé is best known for single, “Next to Me.” “Next to Me” was the centerpiece of Sandé’s debut, Our Version of Events. After a four-year hiatus, the 29-year old returns with sophomore album, Long Live the Angels. Long Live the Angels is led by promo single, “Hurts.” “Hurts,” is a home run.
Sandé showcases a beautiful vocal tone from the onset. She possesses a soulful and chilling sound early on:
“Baby I’m not made of stone it hurts.”
The production incorporates a moody pad at the onset while clapping production enters after the tone is set. Sandé conveys a feisty attitude following the slow-paced opening. The tempo picks up – understatement.
There’s a hip-hop sensibility given the rhythmic nature of the verses:
“Hold tight, it’s a sing-along / I’m alright, I’m alright, but I could be wrong, baby / I know you remember / ’53 in the back of the lavory, come on / you could at least try and look at me…”
Electrifying production work characterizes the remainder of the record. It has a bite thanks to the minor key and the brass. The Catchy chorus is the centerpiece, by all means, filled with power and emotion:
“Baby, I’m not made of stone, it hurts / loving you the way I do, it hurts / when all that’s left to do is watch it burn / oh baby, I’m not made of stone, it hurts.”
Upon the second iteration of the chorus, choral backing vocals amplify the intensity. The effect is nothing short of powerful. Simply put, one can’t listen to “Hurts” and not feel Sandé’s emotions. On the bridge, Sandé lays it out:
“It hurts the way that you pretend you don’t remember / it hurts the way that you forget our times together / like the time laid in bed when you said it’s forever, baby / I can’t, I can’t explain no more”
Pain is awesome on “Hurts.” Not so much literal pain, but the record itself is the perfect promo single. Sure, it may or may not become a commercial hit, but from a critical standpoint, Emeli Sandé kills it.
Emeli Sandé • Long Live the Angels • Virgin • Release: 11.11.16
Photo Credit: Virgin