New Sam Smith single cements his place as poet laureate of sadness

British musician Sam Smith has outdone himself with new single “Drowning Shadows,” which he told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe was the “saddest song” he’d ever written. We believe it.

“Drowning Shadows” is a sweeping, swelling ballad about coming home to an empty house, and Smith actually wrote the track before his hit “Stay With Me” but only recently got the song’s production the way he wanted it.

Smith says of his inspiration for the ballad: “It’s very, very depressing. I used to get in the taxi back to Oval where I used to live from the studio and on the way back to Oval there was a crossroads and one road would lead to gay clubs that I used to go out to and then the other road would go home and I was in such a lonely, sad place when I was writing this album that sometimes I would literally have to choose, ’Do I go home to nothing? Or stay out for more?’ And that was a genuine choice for me some nights.”

It’s a fitting conclusion to Smith’s Act I. The 23-year-old singer told ET Online last week that he would soon be taking a hiatus from public performances as he continues work on his followup album to 2014’s In the Lonely Hour. This comes after Smith spent the summer recovering from vocal surgery, only to return to a smash single for the new James Bond movie, Spectre, and a tour.

Word on the street is that Smith will appear on Saturday Night Live with Lorde and Disclosure on Nov. 14. The re-release of his Grammy-winning debut album, In the Lonely Hour: The Drowning Shadows Edition, will be out Friday, Nov. 6.

If this is the last new Sam Smith music for a while, we’re going to be sure to savor it.

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This ballet duet to Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” is heart-crushingly gorgeous

[Image via SoundCloud]