We've all been there before: in a space where we've practically given every last ounce of ourselves to someone or something that no longer deserves to have our attention. If you've ever had that feeling, it'll only take one listen to realize that Sam Smith's "Midnight Train" is the selfish anthem you need. Seemingly one of Sam Smith's more poignant songs from his new album, The Thrill Of It All, "Midnight Train" reveals the narrative of a person who has finally made the tough decision to put their own feelings ahead of others. Although distressing in its overall premise of breaking up with someone, "Midnight Train" also offers an alternate message of self-love and self-preservation that many of us could prove to benefit from in the grand scheme of things.
The first verse of the song explains, that although Smith is grateful for the experience of the relationship itself, he has ultimately made the decision to walk away as the situation no longer fulfills him as a human being. The sentiment is, perhaps, something that may feel quite familiar to many who have, at one point or another, found themselves in a situation where they needed to break free. Smith certainly does not mince words as the song gets underway. Immediately getting to the point, he sings:
"I choose me
And I know that’s selfish, love
You are a dream
And I can’t thank you enough
But I give another piece of me away
Every waking day that I’m with you"
The opening lyrics are striking to say the least. Smith's statement, "I choose me" sets an overall tone for the rest of the tune which seems to be undeniably personal for the singer. Although it is immediately unclear whether or not this particular song is about a specific relationship, Smith did admit to Ellen DeGeneres that four or five songs on the album are about "another guy," referring to his involvement in a past relationship prior to hitting things off with his current love, actor Brandon Flynn.
During "Midnight Train's" pre-chorus, Smith has a quick moment of introspection as he briefly begins to consider the feelings of those who will be affected by his decision to choose himself. The internal tug of war in situations such as these can be grueling, to say the least. Smith sings:
"Am I a monster?
What will your family think of me?
They brought me in
They helped me out with everything
But I give a little piece of me away
Every single day"
Moving forward, he realizes that his actions are necessary for his well-being as he professes his love for his partner, but concludes that it's best he moves on. He croons:
"So I pick up the pieces
I get on the midnight train
I got my reasons
But darling I can’t explain
I’ll always love you
But tonight’s the night I choose to walk away"
Smith continues to profess his love while reminiscing on details about their relationship, but continues to contend that it wouldn't right if he stayed.
"Love you so much
That I have to let you go
I’ll miss your touch
And the secrets we both know
But it would be wrong for me to stay
And I’ll just give you hope"
It's worth noting that Smith writes most of the content for his albums, so it's very likely that "Midnight Train" does actually draw from some type of real-life experience that the 25-year-old entertainer has encountered since the release of his 2014 debut album, In The Lonely Hour.
As Smith continues to narrate the intricacies of life with his touching lyrics, fans will continue to feel drawn to his music. Whether it'd be love, life, or loneliness, Sam Smith always seems to get it right. Should you ever find yourself in need of a time-out from a situation that no longer serves you, "Midnight Train" may be just the song to help get you through.