Today’s Song: Sam Wickens’ “Falling” Depicts a Breakup from a Distance

Sam Wickens © 2019
Sam Wickens’ first single from his upcoming debut album, “Falling” is a sparse breakup song that feels like it really bleeds.
Stream: “Falling” – Sam Wickens


It’s really difficult to make something sound so calming and sweet, but deliver it with a sense of impending doom. Irish singer/songwriter Sam Wickens uses both of these sides of the emotional spectrum to show a relationship that’s about to come to an end in “Falling.” The end of every relationship involves some negative emotions, whether it’s bitterness, emptiness, or anger.  Sometimes, the saddest part is seeing the end in sight, and Wickens sounds as if he’s watching his own relationship end from a distance.

Falling - Sam Wickens

Falling – Sam Wickens

You feel a little lost
a little alone
my head is filled with thoughts
that i can’t let you know
can’t seem to hide away
when i need to most
i’ll try to change your mind
run out of time

What sells the track most is Wickens’ calm and mesmerizing voice.  Throughout the verses, his voice is incredibly haunting and still.  Despite having a very distinctive and pretty voice, he sounds like he’s trying to make himself sound sure.  He’s cool when he sings:

Can’t seem to steady myself
For a moment at all
It’s like falling out of love

Still, he occasionally enters a higher register, and it shows some real emotional struggle cutting through.  When Wickens sings, “Our love is turning us into a fool, falling,” he delivers the line with the sort of wavering voice that shows he’s making a really hard decision.  It’s occasionally hard to listen to, because the message of the song is “Our relationship is about to end, and it’s going to happen sooner or later.”  It’s sad to see something’s ending, even if it needs to.

Sam Wickens © 2019

Sam Wickens © 2019

Besides the timbre of Wickens’ voice, the instrumental of this song is what makes it work and sets the tone for the song.  For the most part, it’s sparse.  You’d almost imagine Wickens is singing on a mountain in the moments when the wind has stopped.  It’s ambient and chilling.  Present but not enough to distract: it really brings his voice to the forefront, and even when there are whines and layers on the instrumental, it still feels like a conversation in an empty room.  It’s an instrumental track that enhances the track without eclipsing it.  It’s large and easy to forget is there.  It’s omnipresent to the whole song.

What works best about the track is that it doesn’t romanticize the heartache or break up.  The song is good, because it’s simple, not because it’s glamorous. Sam Wickens’ subtle demeanor makes it much more conversational and real.  “Falling” is a devastating first single from a voice in folk that’s not afraid to push himself.

Sam Wickens’ debut LP All I’ve Seen is out June 13.

Stream: “Falling” – Sam Wickens

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Falling - Sam Wickens

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James is a writer, currently in Human Resources at The New York Times. Besides Atwood, he's contributed to SensationsPress.com and his own blog BurgerADay.com. In his free time, James also writes poetry, performs stand-up comedy, listens to more podcasts than he can keep up with, and can be found floating around shows in New York City's punk scene.