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Review: Sam Smith ‘The Thrill of It All’

Georgia Dack

Georgia is the website entertainment editor and is also an English literature and Film student; she (unsurprisingly) enjoys & likes to write about cinema, tv shows, books, music, and culture.

The release of ‘The Thrill of It All’ has shifted public attention back to the beloved cheesy love song go-to artist Sam Smith. In his album, the pop singer sings about faith, relationships, love, goodbyes, and more. These themes were the result of genuine emotion, as he said to Billboard, ‘I wasn’t trying to make a big pop record when I made this album. I was actually just trying to make something personal and like a diary’. He also admitted in an interview with the New York Times that most of the songs were inspired by the end of a five-month relationship. Released on the 3rd of November, ‘The Thrill of It All’ has received mainly positive reviews, although Observer reviewer Kitty Empire pointed out that ‘there is little drama here, just plenty of shorthand (sad pianos), a total absence of risk’.

The song ‘Too Good At Goodbyes’ was released in early September as the lead single of the album after much hyped promotion, and did not disappoint fans. As The Independent put it, ‘Smith’s voice remains a thing of wonder’. Even to the ears of an ordinary music amateur, his vocals are precise and emotive, his lyrics poignant and relatable.

Following this massive hit, Smith released ‘Pray’ in October, a song inspired by the work he did in Iraq with the charity War Child, in collaboration with hip-hop artist Timbaland. The melody’s climbing riff is backed up by a gospel choir, creating a dramatic and epic sound.

In ‘HIM’, Smith explores the controversial relationship between homosexuality and religious faith. Starting with a soft choir sets the feeling of an auditory church as he confesses his secret to the Holy Father: “It is him I love, it is him”. The vulnerability of this conversation with God presents the listener with the dilemma of being gay while trying to belong to a religion that says it is wrong.

‘The Thrill of It All’ is second in the Billboard 200 chart, having hit incredible numbers since the first week of its release. Smith’s sudden success is being compared to other huge names in the pop field like Adele and Coldplay, which is notable praise considering that it is only his second album. The fans also received a visual surprise: the album cover depicts a simple black and white photograph of his slimmed down face and new hair style. Despite his whole new physique, Smith’s voice holds the same warmth and his artistic style has matured since his last album ‘In the Lonely Hour’.

Now, Smith’s fans can only sit and wait for details of his tour dates for the chance to be surrounded by the honey of his vocals in a live concert. If you still haven’t Sam Smith’s ‘In The Thrill Of It All’, you can listen on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, or YouTube.

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