Released on November 20, 2020, this melancholy orchestral ballad finds Sam Smith telling a story of a Christmas reunion.
The song opens with Smith addressing someone close who has been away for some time. He urges the person to return home to him.
Build yourself a boat, babe
Make yourself a sail
Float into the ocean
Smith continues the ocean metaphors as he reassures the loved one that when they encounter rain and storms, he will be a beacon to guide them home.
I'll never leave you lost at sea
I will be your lighthouse keeper
Bring you safely home to me
The somber anthem is marketed as a Yuletide song, but Smith only mentions Christmas once: In the second verse, the singer hopes that they will be reunited in time to celebrate the holiday together.
Smith explained that he was inspired to write the song because of the COVID pandemic separating loved ones. "I went back to my childhood, thinking about lullabies and lighthouses. It's romantic, like a kid's story. It's nice to make something different, a Christmas song... this year we need some Christmas joy... more than ever before we are yearning to be around our friends and family."
Sam Smith wrote the song with producer Labrinth. It is their second collaboration following "Love Goes," the title track of the singer's 2020 album where the pair duet together.
Sam Smith conceived and directed the song's animated video himself.