Singer Sam Smith’s latest, “To Die For,” is the title track from his highly anticipated third album, scheduled for release May 1.
This song once again showcases the openly gay singer’s smooth vocals and penchant for piano accompaniment. And it expresses Smith’s deepest desire: to find someone he loves so much that he’d die for that person.
But no matter where Smith looks, he doesn’t see the one he’s looking for. Instead, he’s left to look at everyone else’s happiness.
The track opens with audio dialogue between a man and a woman from the film Donnie Darko: “‘It is if everyone dies alone’/‘Does that scare you?’/‘I don’t wanna be alone.’” Those lines set the stage for Smith’s thoughts here.
His goal? Finding a love worth giving everything for: “Solo shadow on a sidewalk/Just want somebody to die for.”
But though he’s been searching constantly (“I look for you/Every day, every night/I close my eyes/From the fear, from the light”), all he sees instead are happy pairs of lovers (“Couples holding hands on a runway/They’re all posing in a picture frame”) while he’s left disillusioned and alone (“Whilst my world’s crashing down/ … Lonely days, I’m feeling/Like a fool for dreaming”).
The video illustrates Smith’s longing by (somewhat creepily) imposing his singing face on the head of a mannequin in a store window. From that vantage point, he observes happy couples (both heterosexual and homosexual) as they hold hands and kiss. Smith’s own longing, of course, goes unmet.
On one level, “To Die For” can be heard as a simple, pining love song. And anyone who’s ever felt the same way that Smith does may well resonate with his achingly lonely sentiments here.
On another level, “To Die For” is the latest high-profile example of a same-sex-attracted artist embracing a familiar musical trope. When combined with the video’s images interspersing affectionate hetero- and homosexual couples, it further normalizes the idea that there’s no difference at all between these two types of pairings—a suggestion that runs counter to biblical teaching on homosexual relationships.
And as Smith longs for someone whom he deems worthy of dying for, it can’t help but remind Christian listeners of the perfect love of Jesus Christ—a Savior Who did die for us and Who alone can fill the deepest voids of our hearts and longings for love.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).