Sam Smith loves to push boundaries. But if you thought their music video for the No. 1 single, “Unholy,” was the limit, that was just the tip of the artistic iceberg. With the release of their new album, Gloria, Smith has shifted their attention to dropping supporting music videos starting with the latest single, “I’m Not Here To Make Friends,” featuring Jessie Reyez and Calvin Harris.
Originally teased but in November, the boisterous dance track is Smith’s way of asserting as well those who sing along are also sexual being and their intimacy needs will no longer be ignored as they repeatedly sing, “‘Cause I’m not here to make friends / No I’m not here to make friends / ‘Cause I’m not here to make friends / I need a lover, I need a lover.”
When discussing the inspiration behind the track, the singer told television host Graham Norton, “I went on a date with this guy, and he just — people friend-zone me a lot of dates. And I went in the studio the next day, and I was like, ‘I’m sick of it. I’ve got enough friends. I don’t need any more friends.’ And so the song is about that.”
Smith’s demand to be desired is also at the core of the track’s official music video directed by Tanu Muino. Filmed inside King Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace castle in East Molesey, United Kingdom, Smith refuses to shrink themselves to fit into the monocracy’s standards of respectability. With custom wardrobing by designer Christian Cowan, Smith is undoubtedly the belle of the ball.
From dancing on top of pianos to swinging on chandlers, Smith will no longer be ignored. Smith may not be a drag performer, but the video opens with the Queen of Drag, RuPaul reciting his famous quote and features several cameos from them sprinkled throughout epic dance numbers choreographed by (La)Horde and starring dancers Rio Allison (of The Allison Brothers), Sakeema Peng Crook, and Daniel Alwell.
Yes, Smith can belt out a breathtaking ballad, but as they sing, “I’m just being honest, baby I just need a partner when the lights come on / Thirty almost got me, and I’m so over love songs,” that’s not what this track is for they are rebelling from that early career pigeonholed. The UK media isn’t too happy about Smith’s new video, but Smith totally embraces the backlash they had received from the video, telling Graham Norton, “It was the best headline I’ve ever received.”
Pushing back to say despite what the video depicts, they ensure, “Nothing seedy went on. it wasn’t weird,” adding, “Weirder things have happened in that castle. Let’s be honest.”
If this level of rambunctiousness is plastered throughout Smith’s music videos, just imagine what type of experience their upcoming Gloria tour will present.
Watch the full video above.
Gloria is out now via Columbia Records. Stream or purchase it here.