It’s been a few years since Emeli Sandé first appeared on the scene with Our Version of Events. The past four years have been relatively quiet, with the most we’ve heard being a few features on singles for the likes of David Guetta and Rudimental. With her new album Long Live the Angels coming this year, however, another era is well and truly on its way, beginning with her new single Hurts.
Hurts feels like exactly the type of song you would expect to open an era for Sandé. It mixes elements of pop balladry with ample gospel touches, with hand claps and soft drums constantly backing the track while layers of strings and choirs sing over the top, backing up Sandé herself. It’s a flashy number, overproduced and with some awkward lyricism in its chorus that hinders the flow more than helps, but there’s a solidly emotional ballad at the core of the track that feels slightly more sincere than the trappings that surround it.
Hurts isn’t an amazing track, and there isn’t much originality to it, but it’s a solid start to Sandé’s latest effort. With less of a reliance on its ceaseless hand clapping and overwhelming strings, it may have allowed the emotions of the track to shine through rather than become buried under the sound, leading to a song with a much stronger impact. However, it’s still an interesting start to an album that’s likely to live up to the hype.