Burning

Album: The Thrill of It All (2017)
Charted: 63
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Songfacts®:

  • This exercise in self-flagellation is a highly personal torch song.

    Such a burden, this flame on my chest

    The ballad finds Smith grappling with mistakes that led to a lost romance. "It's the most personal song I've ever written in my life," he said during an appearance on BBC Radio on October 27, 2017. "I was going through a really tough time last year. I live in London, and I went through a breakup. And I dealt with the break-up in a bad way, and I was just going out way too much."
  • Smith embarked on some self-destructive behaviour arising from his heartbreak, which he portrays in this song.

    "After the Oscars [in 2016], I started going out too much, not respecting myself, drinking loads and smoking," he told Billboard. "I'm normally quite healthy, but back then I wasn't, either physically or mentally. I wasn't looking after myself; I was going into a bit of a spiral. I'd lost contact with friends, with family. It wasn't good."
  • Sam Smith expanded on the song's background during an interview with The Sun:

    "I had broken up with a guy and I went on holiday with my family and had three weeks off from writing, which is the only period I had off from doing it. And I really went for it with the partying, I was just going out a lot.

    You sometimes wanna be a bit rebellious and you kind of want to ruin something great. That's the only way I can explain it. And there was a minute I was flirting with that and I was just going out a bit too much. But before I got too intense I pulled everything back in and I sorted myself out, and it was music that saved me again and really just got my head in the right head space."

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