The ever-expanding Charli XCX musical universe of songs about fast cars and late nights has found a new addition in the Sam Smith-assisted single ‘In The City’. On their first collaboration together, the two musicians wrap themselves in the safety blanket of hedonism in the dark of the night.
“The song is about finding the people you truly love and connect with through wild nights out and partying in magical places,” Charli XCX said of the one-off single in a statement. “It’s about feeling accepted, the magnificence of being welcomed into queer spaces and those once in a lifetime people you get to meet when you’re there”
Smith added: “Charli is a force and getting creative with her is so much fun. This track is about freedom and those unforgettable nights of abandon. I loved every minute we spent together making it.”
“I’m flowin’ through you like water/Yeah, my body’s swayin’ side to side/I’m focused in on the moment/All the lights are diamonds in the sky,” she sings on the opening verse. The record features production from A. G. Cook, ILYA, and Omer Fedi. It marks the singer’s second single of the year, following up her Barbie soundtrack smash ‘Speed Drive’.
“I knew the night that I met you/Underneath the New York City lights,” Smith sings. “Baby, no matter what I do/There’s an angel standing by my side.” And they found an angel within Charli XCX, too.
In the days leading up to the single’s release, Charli XCX addressed hateful comments being shared in regards to Smith’s involvement on the record. “Hi everyone. I’m about to release a song with Sam Smith, and the experience has been really interesting,” the singer shared in a video posted to TikTok. “Never in my life have I seen someone receive so many hateful comments online. It’s been really disheartening.”
Smith has been a fixed figure in the pop music sphere for the past decade, so there isn’t anything being hurled at them now that they haven’t seen at some point or another in that time. Their gender identity, body image, and romantic pursuits have been explored throughout their discography — which features four studio albums including this year’s Gloria — but their candour and vulnerability has also made them an easy target for the kind of hate that urged Charli XCX to rise to their defence.
“At the same time, I am so proud of Sam’s ability to withstand that because I know I certainly couldn’t withstand it,” the singer continued in her video. “So, I want to say: Sam, I love you, I love our song together, and I am in awe of your strength.”