“How Will I Know” was a song first sung by Whitney Houston. It sounds super peppy and when you watch the video now, it’s just smack full of 80’s goodness.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Whitney Houston is a goddamned legend. Her talent was otherworldly, but after you hear the song, you don’t really remember much other than that she sounded great and it was generally happy.
But then, Sam Smith turns around and does this.
In one cover, he makes you think of the song in a completely different way. You never realized that the original had the same lyrics:
How will I know if he really loves me
I say a prayer with every heart beat
I fall in love whenever we meet
I’m asking you what you know about these things
How will I know if he’s thinking of me
I try to phone but I’m too shy
Falling in love is all bitter sweet
This love is strong why do I feel weak
The first time I heard it, I must’ve played it another dozen times right afterwards. It’s heartbreaking, mostly because it’s true. We always want to know where we stand, especially when it comes to romance. When I’m with a girl, I want to know, or I want to believe that she sees me the way that I see her. The truth of the matter is though, I’ll never know, and she’ll never know how I feel either. I can tell her a million and one times, and it can be a million and one lies. If she thinks I’m lying once, then the other million won’t matter. That trust, that leap of faith to believe that someone cares for you as much as you care about them, is everything. And yeah, if you never take that leap, you’ll never really get hurt, but that’s just death by a million papercuts. What’s the point? I’m not saying you should go around making yourself emotionally vulnerable to everyone you meet, but it’s not some game where you need to make the other person love you more than you love them.
I don’t know a damn thing about relationships. All I know is what I hope for and what I imagine that will be. I know I don’t want to worry before I go to sleep beside her every night if I have the power, so if it ends tomorrow, she’s the one that gets hurt more. Maybe that’s naive, and maybe that’s foolish, but I never want to be that sort of man.
But then again, how will I know?