Enter the boys of summer. Last week, Calvin Harris and Sam Smith dropped their first collaboration, the laidback summer groove “Promises.” The near-surprise single was teased for the first time just five days before its release and is the third single (after “One Kiss” with Dua Lipa and “Nuh Ready Nuh Ready” with PARTYNEXTDOOR) from Harris’s forthcoming CH6. The artwork, lyric video and beat all convey a very retro feel. Harris and Smith counted down to the single release with rooftop photos of them bro-ing it up in ’80s gear.
Smith promises nothing but one great night as he croons over a sparse track of bass, piano chords, and percussion. Up-and-comer Jessie Reyez lends snark to the track with a cheeky vocal complete with giggles. Creating summer jams is right in Harris’s wheelhouse, but Reyez is the unsung hero of this collaboration (she worked on Harris’s last album and co-wrote “One Kiss”). Reyez’s standout ballad “Gatekeeper” decries male music executives sexually harassing women and holding them back in the industry. Racking up credits with one of dance music’s biggest producers makes it seem as though Reyez has figured out how to play the game without letting it play her.
The lyrics follow the long tradition of leveraging emotional brokenness for sex appeal. Smith opens the first verse with “Are you drunk enough // Not to judge what I’m doin’ // Are you high enough // To excuse that I’m ruined.” He then goes looking for someone to dance with, “to come and stay over,” and though “he can’t do golden rings,” he’s ready to give a special someone everything tonight. Sounds like it’s high time for a bad decision.
The track ends without resolving, beckoning the listener to put it on loop while drinking a little too much sangria by the pool.
Featured Image: Columbia Records