If this is the kinda quality you’re working with for your third single then, gurl, go right ahead and help yourself to that trophy.
Emeli Sandé has every reason to act like she’s dat bitch. The Scottish soul/R&B songwriter is off to a rather promising start with her solo career. Yes, she’s foremost known for featuring on Roll Deep‘s ‘Never Be Your Woman’ and Professor Green‘s ‘Read All About It’, the UK #1 hit that’s currently rising up the Australian ARIA Top 100 – but unlike most rent-a-vocalists, Ms Sandé‘s own material is solid enough to build a bankable career on.
‘Next To Me’ is possibly her most accessible release to date and given how close we are to the album drop date, putting out the more straightforward radio-ready track now might not be such a bad idea. Even though Sandé‘s last two singles – ‘Heaven’ and ‘Daddy’ – were great staples of modern soul, they’re nowhere near catchy or straightforward enough to be proper radio hits.
I’m not advocating for folks to dumb down their music – especially not when they’re as effective a songwriter as Emeli Sandé. All I’m saying is that, ‘Next To Me’ has the potential to reach further and appeal to a wider range of listeners than her more introspective first two singles.
‘Next To Me’ hears the Scottish chanteuse sing of a good man who’s faithful and who’s always there to support her. You know, it’s uplifting and inviting enough as it is without considering the lovely, driving soul music. Production wise, ‘Next To Me’ is a capable contemporary mix of Motown, urban and even a touch of gospel.
Enough about that. What about the video?
Ms Emeli is thankfully not testing our gag reflexes with saccharine depictions of a lovely couple enjoying a cosy night in on the couch.
‘Next To Me’ is a drastically low-key compared to her first two videos which were all flavoured with a bit of drama, grit and street realness. The completely in-studio production featuring a scene in a warehouse with two spotlights over a drummer and Emeli on piano really drives home the song’s simple message of companionship.
Colouration becomes a big deal in this video because there’s really nothing much on set to distract you. You’ll notice the contrasting switch from warm, earthy tones in Emeli‘s wardrobe in the scene with her male drummer to the glossy, V Magazine-ready bright colours of her solo shot. That to me symbolises the grounded, natural and homely state she’s in whenever she’s “next to” her man – a world that’s just the two of them and the beautiful music they’re making – as opposed to the glamorous editorialised version of Emeli Sandé, the chart-tearing pop singer.
Watch the music video for ‘Next To Me’:
Emeli Sandé will release ‘Next To Me’ in the UK on 13 February, the same day her album arrives.
At this stage, there’s been no word on whether Aussies will get the single. But hey, Emeli‘s debut album Our Version of Events is confirmed to drop Down Under on 10 February.