On Friday, Jan. 28th, Samm Henshaw released his debut album, Untidy Soul. The 16-track project comes equipped with fresh horns, strings, and vocals to boot. Henshaw’s fans are certainly rejoicing as the OG’s have waited about six years for the release. Henshaw first came onto the scene way back in 2015 when he released The Sound Experiment - EP followed by The Sound Experiment 2 - EP in 2016.
Opening with the self-conscious, ego-busting “Thoughts and Prayers,” the title “Untidy Soul” has a beautiful two-part meaning. In an interview featured on It’s Real with Jordan and Demi, Samm said that the title was a play on how he characterizes his unique sound as well as his personal life. “Messy untidy soul” were the exact words Henshaw used when he was requested to put words to his music.
More importantly, however, Untidy Soul was a part of Henshaw coming to terms with the messiness of human nature. “Internally I'm a bit of mess and [I’m] learning to be okay with it because that's how we are as humans”, Henshaw told Jordan. He continued, “The idea behind it all is to wake up every day we get an opportunity to, and work on it and become better.”
That is the same self-awareness the singer-songwriter injects into the entire album. The songs flow easily from themes surrounding ego, joy, success, love, and my personal favorite; success vs. love.
“Enough” is one of the songs that highlight the eternal strife for balance. In the chorus, he begs the questions, “How high is high enough? How far is far is enough? How much is too much? When is enough enough?” Those words definitely show how untidy life could be when our capitalistic society constantly perpetuates a culture of greed. In this song, as well as “Still Broke,” Henshaw is pushing us to interrogate our ideas of what success looks like.
Looking for the balance of success and love was also depicted in the music videos that play more like short films for “Still Broke” and “Grow”. In part one/”Still Broke”, Henshaw is shown playing Sonny, who finds himself still broke living in a metaphorical mansion that isn’t his. In part two/”Grow”, Sonny is depicted in a home that is actually his, with his partner, Selah, played by fellow singer/songwriter Tiana Major9. Throughout the video, they’re seen trying to grow and strengthen their relationship symbolized by a bonsai tree the lovers bought from a plant shop in their new neighborhood. The aesthetic and story of that pair of videos is astounding and I’ll tell y’all to tap in until I’m blue in the face!
Overall, Samm Henshaw created a beautifully personal soul album that longtime fans and newcomers will appreciate for the foreseeable future. He’s able to take listeners back in time with his use of live instruments while simultaneously keeping us in the present by invoking subject matter that feels timely.
You can stream Untidy Soul using the links below! If you would like to add comments or thoughts of your own, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from ya!