While their name may sound fairly common, the 21 year old British singer’s voice is quite out of the ordinary, a true talent that is poised to be pop’s next big thing.
Sam Smith is still relatively unknown in the US, most people probably know them for being featured on Disclosure’s “Latch” and Naughty Boy’s extremely catchy “La La La“. Their new single, “Stay With Me“, is slowly but surely climbing the charts.
For their highly anticipated debut, ‘In The Lonely Hour‘, from the lyrics, the soul, the ballads that everyone can relate to, but most importantly, the fact that the whole album is inspired about a man that didn’t love Sam back, it is no surprise that the Adele comparisons arise. After all, they were both BBC’s Sound of 2008 and Sound of 2014 respectively. Sam ultimately taking a step ahead compared to when Adele first started since they won the 2014 BRIT Awards Critic’s Choice.
‘In The Lonely Hour‘ starts off with the upbeat “Money On My Mind“, and while the song is great, you’d expect the whole album to continue with the tone/rhythm that made Sam’s vocals popular in the first place. Instead, besides “Money On My Mind” and “Restart“, which are the only 2 songs that feature synths and house sounds, the rest of the album is a pure ballad and soul fest.
The whole theme of unrequited love surrounds the album, from wanting a one night stand to continue in “Stay With Me“, to not being loved back in “Not In That Way“, Sam Smith croons on the record in a way that it feels safe. While heartbreak is a feeling that is universally relatable, you’d think that Smith’s songs would push more boundaries, whether it is with the songwriting or vocals, instead of being just an easy listen. To be fair, there is not much difference from the sad tone from one song to the next one.
Nevertheless, Sam Smith pours their soul on the album, and songs like “Like I Can“, whose guitar riffs resonate with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and has the potential of being their next single, as well as dealing with a partner cheating in “I’m Not The Only One” and gems like “Leave Your Lover“, in which the sincere plea encapsulates the whole feeling of the album into one song.
In conclusion, ‘In The Lonely Hour‘ is an easy listen at best, but that does not mean that there aren’t some sincere songs in it that even with the album’s somber theme stand out. Due to Sam’s early success with the more dance-esque songs, I was expecting more of this approach on their debut album that while is as emotional as they come, it falls short to a massive belter on the record.