If you know me, you know that I love Samm Henshaw. It’s a fact as simple and true as my name; so much so that I will forever brag about how I was fortunate enough to secure tickets to his first concert in New York City at Sound of Brazil (which was undoubtedly one of the best nights of my life).
At the venue, he performed songs from both of his first two albums, “The Sound Experiment” and “The Sound Experiment 2,” and some of his most popular singles “Broke,” “Church” and “Doubt”. Additionally, he shared a handful of tracks that were scheduled to come out on his newly released album, “Untidy Soul,” to excite fans for his upcoming work. Which, of course, easily worked on me.
So, when my countdown app finally dwindled to “zero days” on Jan. 28, and his entire record was released for listening, I have not stopped playing it since then. Here is why.
1. “Still No Album (Intro)”
“Still No Album (Intro)” is a silly, short, self-deprecating conversation acknowledging that it’s taken him “ages” to release another album for his fans.
2.“Thoughts and Prayers”
This is definitely my favorite track on “Untidy Soul”. It is so unbelievably beautiful, soulful and thought-provoking that I can’t help but belt beside Samm as he sings “If everyone were like me, could that be the change I’d like to see.” Even further, the small hints of saxophone and layered harmonies are just the poppy undertone needed to balance out the powerful lyrics. If not a must listen, it’s surely a must-read as it truly allows you to reflect on the actions of yourself and others.
“Grow” is one of three songs that Samm released as a sneak peek for his upcoming record, and with good reason. It sets what seems like a perfect tone for “Untidy Soul” as it talks about growing as a romantic couple, while also incorporating a higher-pitched voice that makes an appearance in a few other songs on the album.
4. “Chicken Wings”
This song just makes me so happy. I vividly remember when Samm released “Chicken Wings” in October of 2021 and I actually skipped around campus with a huge grin on my face. His silly lines that combine love in a relationship and food will always make me giggle no matter how many times I listen to it. And more importantly, when the trumpets start blaring at 2:18, I can’t help but throw my head around without a care in the world.
5. “Mr Introvert”
Mr Introvert is such a nighttime, summer night drive song. In just one short minute, he creates a quick R&B jam about it being better when it’s “just the two of us”.
I absolutely love the feel and vibe this song gives off. The background vocals echoing “run to me” and piano trills work in such a beautiful balance with the steady drumbeat.
7. “Mr Introvert (Reprise)”
“Mr Introvert (Reprise)” is 50 seconds of what I imagine someone ascending to heaven would sound like, as the saxophone, chimes and guitar play in perfect harmony.
8. “Loved By You”
If someone ever wrote something like this about me, I think I would cry until the end of time. He begins the song in conversation, “she’d say do you love me? How much?” and goes on to explain just how much he does in a slow, melodic rhythm.
9. “Take Time”
“Take Time” is one of the most popular songs on “Untidy Soul,” and probably due to the foot-tapping, R&B feel. It discusses a relationship moving too fast, and how they should just “take a minute” and “just let it be”.
“Waterbreak” is another short addition to the album, coming in at just 39 seconds. A smooth jazzy feel plays up until you hear Samm’s voice ask, “what you didn’t bring no cookies?” which never fails to bring a smile to my face.
11. “It Won’t Change”
This tune takes you through a multitude of rhythms and vibes throughout its length, which I love. To me, I enjoy listening to the range on top of listening to the beautiful reassurance Samm sings about.
12. “East Detroit”
I feel a special connection to this song – as I’m sure most people will have if they’ve ever experienced a breakup. Samm’s raw cries “time heals everything but this wound” continue to tug at my heart every time I play this track.
This song! I swear he is just a lyric genius. Not only do I absolutely drool over the layered female voices alongside Samm’s, but the chorus speaks to me on another level as it explains how pushing yourself to the furthest limits is sometimes not the best thing that you can do for yourself.
14. “Keyon (Interlude)”
“Keyon” is a short piece of just pure instrumental while a woman simultaneously lectures the musician for playing at four in the morning. It definitely brings out a good chuckle.
15. “Still Broke (feat. Keyon Harrold)”
I have such nostalgia listening to this song as I immediately picture the stage where Samm Henshaw sang this right in front of my face. The instrumentals, choir and lyrics are what make this piece a true masterpiece.
Instead of singing along to all of his songs like I usually do, I just like to sit back and listen to this track as he closes his third album explaining how he now just seeks pure joy.
I urge you not only to take time to listen to “Untidy Soul,” but to all of what Samm Henshaw has to offer. Even if you only have time for a few songs, at least check out my notable favorites: “Autonomy,” “Redemption,” “Better,” “Night Calls” and “Broke”. And Samm, if you’re reading this, thank you for creating such breathtaking work.