Track Review: Sampha, ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’
British musician Sampha delivers an authentic, emotional, and reflective gem with “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” a single from debut LP, Process.
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” serves as the third single from Process, the highly anticipated full-length debut album from British musician Sampha. Sampha has made a name for himself as a collaborator and producer, not so much as an artist. Judging by the songs he rolled out ahead of Process – including “Blood on Me” – he definitely deserves credit for his own music.
“(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is an emotional, reflective gem that grips the listener from the jump. A subtle record, the lyrics pack a punch, not to mention Sampha’s personal, truly authentic vocal. In a sense, he characterizes the piano in his mother’s home as his confidante – the sole person who understands his feelings, issues, and otherwise. On the first verse, the focus seems to be solely on the piano.
“No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home / You would show me I had something some people call a soul / And you dropped out the sky, oh you arrived when I was three years old / No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home.”
The chorus, which follows, begins to suggest that there’s more to the story than merely a piano. Even so, it doesn’t provide clarity just yet.
“You know I left, I flew the nest / And you know I won’t be long / And in my chest you know me best / And you know I’ll be back home.”
While Sampha could be referencing the instrument, verse two personalizes the centerpiece of this song.
“An angel by her side, all the times I knew we couldn’t cope / They said that it’s her time, no tears in sight, I kept the feelings close / And you took hold of me and never, never, never let me go…”
Take all the lyrics into account, and clearly Sampha has returned home, and not only for his beloved childhood piano. According to Genius, his return home was due to the illness and eventual death of his mom.
Ultimately, “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is superb. This record is moving, capturing the musician’s deepest emotions. Simple, yet complex, Sampha nails it undoubtedly.