BSBB Round 3: Sam Smith, "Stay With Me" vs. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith, "Latch"
Courtesy Photo (2)
Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules

Stay With Me

Sam Smith

Latch

Disclosure feat. Sam Smith



CAITLIN WHITE: It's pretty safe to say the rest of Sam Smith's career hinges on his feature on Disclosure's "Latch." For most of us, the song was his introduction and his calling card; plus it felt like a distinct moment in which old-fashioned Sinatra crooning and glitchy, nü-elctronic pop congealed in a glorious post-modern mess. And it's that messy, yarny feel of "Latch" that lets it inch ahead of the straightforward heartbrokenness of "Stay With Me." Remember how "Rolling In The Deep" felt like a logical progression from "Chasing Pavements” for Adele? Well, Smith went backwards in that realm — the production on "Latch" is a more interesting fit for his vocals and remains the best song he's been involved with. Plus "locking" and "latching" love is more inventive than the straight-up clinginess of "Stay With Me."
My Vote: “Latch”

JEREMY LARSON: It's that part in Mortal Kombat where you fight yourself! Sam Smith v. Sam Smith. What would Sam Smith's fatality move be? You know how Kano rips other people's hearts out? Okay, well, Sam Smith would rip his own heart out and then rip his opponent's heart out and replace it with his and Sam Smith's hurt and pain would be too much to bear for his opponent and they would collapse into a puddle of tears and die. "Stay With Me" best represents this.
My Vote: “Stay With Me”

JAMIESON COX: Well, it seems obvious that the winner here is Sam Smith. “Latch” is a vastly superior song, more influential and sensual and dynamic, but there’s one small problem: it was released over two years ago at this point. I might as well vote for “Call Me Maybe” or “Some Nights.” And so I’m left casting my ballot for “Stay With Me,” which is cloying but made people across the country grab for tissues over an emotionally wrenching Grindr one-night stand. I can’t help but support that.
My Vote: "Stay With Me"

JILLIAN MAPES: Two years later, “Latch” is still going strong, having dragged Sam Smith into the spotlight along with it. I think Smith succeeds when paired with producers like Disclosure’s Lawrence brothers, who take his stunning voice and apply it to a less expected aesthetic than blue-eyed soul.
My Vote: “Latch”

ERIKA RAMIREZ: It’s incredible how my spirit animal, Sam Smith, can make me both cry and wiggle. But my eyes are dry after the countless of times I’ve listened to “In the Lonely Hour,” therefore, “Latch” wins. (Plus: I first heard about Sam Smith when Disclosure spun “Latch” at SXSW in 2013.)
My Vote: “Latch”

NICK WILLIAMS: I’m a big “Stay With Me” fan, but I choose “Latch” because it served as both my introduction to Disclosure AND Sam Smith, who both went on to have massive successes following its release. I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of the chorus drop: “Now I’ve got you in my space, I won’t let go of you.”
My Vote: “Latch”

KRISTEN YOONSOO KIM: Oh shit, who wins in this round of Sam Smith versus Sam Smith? The British crooner may be blessed with incredible pipes best showcased on a ballad like “Stay With Me,” but his contribution on the Disclosure jam is way less likely to put you to sleep. The English electronic duo brings out the color in Sam Smith’s incredible voice, making him actually fun to listen to. And vice versa, Sam Smith may have brought out the best in Disclosure, too.
My Vote: “Latch”

JEM ASWAD: HEY! A SAM-OFF! “Stay With Me” is this year’s “Lean On Me,” albeit with a shorter shelf life: It’s effective but corny, and it gets just as big an eye-roll from me when it comes on. And I’ll take Disclosure’s disruptive version of “Latch” over the ballad version Smith plays at his gigs any day.
My Vote: “Latch”

CRAIG JENKINS: Sam Smith had a big year in 2014 as his debut album In the Lonely Hour netted him a vast and still growing audience on both sides of the Atlantic. It was a bit of a pivot, though, as pre-album showings like his turn on British brother duo Disclosure’s vocal house throwback “Latch” seemed to hint at an electronic edge the mannered, genteel Lonely Hour wouldn’t deliver. Lonely Hour’s calling card “Stay with Me” succeeded off the strength of a relatable torch song sentimentality, but it’s meat and potatoes to “Latch”’s poutine.
My Vote: “Latch”

ERNEST BAKER: "Let me dance my ass off" Sam Smith is better than "let me sit in my room and cry about an ex" Sam Smith. "Stay With Me" is a bit of a “We get it, you can sing," record. "Latch" will have people raging into the next millennium.
My Vote: “Latch”

JASON LIPSHUTZ: I listened to “Latch” a whole lot in 2013 and “Stay With Me” a whole lot in 2014, and while “Stay With Me” is the musical equivalent of “Mr. Holland’s Opus” for me (crazy overdramatic, but damned if I don’t cry at the end every time), “Latch” was the lynchpin in Disclosure’s debut album, and a song no one else could have handled quite as well as Smith does. Seriously, picture John Newman singing “Latch.” Picture Usher doing it! It might be cool and interesting, but some of the crucial nuances in Smith’s vocal performance would be sacrificed.
My Vote: “Latch”


OVERALL WINNER: “Latch”

Best Song Bracket Battle: View the Matchups | Critics and Rules