Smile by Aria is a bright and positive pop, jazz composition full of life and energy, conveying a unifying joy through warm, intimate vocals and delicate instrumentation. At its core is the beautiful relationship between the lyrics and the delivery. That sonic bridge is what sells the composition and elevates it beyond the sum of its parts.
I love the drum beat that comes in at around the thirty-second mark. It immediately establishes a gorgeous rhythm and counter rhythm that bounce off each other right from their introduction. There are some clear bossa nova influences to the beat with its syncopated and sharp sound. They work nicely with the trills on the electric guitar, exploring a fun combination of bossa nova and easy-listening contemporary influences.
In general, this piece has a very high level of cohesion between its elements. The way that the vocals and piano work together is particularly impressive. Following the vocal through the highs and lows of its register, the piano part emphasises and draws out extra emotion from them. The vocals themselves have a raw and honest energy, with emotion spilling over, especially during the chorus. This allows the delicate combination of these two elements to create a beautiful melody that entrances the listener.
I love the theme of dancing that is covered in the video. By cutting between many different videos of people dancing, we get a sense of how universal joy and dance is. I specifically like the vintage footage of people dancing, almost suggesting that dance is something inherent to the human experience as a way to express joy, beyond culture in present times. This may seem like a bizarre compliment but the choice to make some of the dancing amature was also quite smart, showing it’s not about being slick or dancing well but instead about moving your body to express joy first and foremost.
This song is a unifying ballad about the importance of joy. It’s executed brilliantly but its message, and more importantly its conviction towards its message is what makes this track so special.
I’ve linked the song and the video below so you can check both of them out.