Sandé’s comeback is a four-minute explosion of drama, passion, energy, and emotion with perfectly-pitched lyrics and an infectious beat.
Four years after the seven-time platinum debut Our Version Of Events, Emeli Sandé’s eventual return – a commanding, enigmatic, and dramatic song that shows off her vocal abilities whilst also delivering a powerful message – is worth the wait. ‘Hurts’ opens with an intense focus on the low beat and a slow vocal introduction, which not only serves to hook you on her unique voice but also to entice you towards the song’s melodramatic feel. The opening stanza is a powerful couplet – “Baby, I’m not made of stone / It hurts / Loving you the way I do / It hurts” – with a prolonged emphasis on the final word and an almost sultry underlining to it that sets the tone perfectly. Her warning to “hold tight” for what is to come is apt, as a haunting and allusive orchestra adds yet another dimension to the track, allowing it to expose an array of emotions and feelings.
‘Hurts’ then sustains the dramatic backing with a contagious clap then thrown in to give it an uplifting sense as Sandé sings a message that love can be dramatic and painful but, when expressed through pain and music, can bring solidarity. This is likely her reminiscing about her 2014 divorce from Adam Gouraguine in 2014, and she has said that when creating the track she asked only two questions: whether it would touch and whether it would connect with people. The answer to both, simply, is yes: the track’s stripped-back lead to a frantic finale exposes simultaneously her vulnerability and her power. Certainly the best comeback single I’ve heard in a long time, ‘Hurts’ stands as a reminder of Sandé’s superb vocal and lyrical abilities and is a very exciting prelude to November’s new album.
‘Hurts’ is out now via Virgin Records