Saturday, January 28, 2023

Sadness in Sam Smith’s second album

“The Thrill of It All”, Sam Smith’s second album, was filled with the same sort of “romantic desperation” factor that his first album captured. “In the Lonely Hour,” was a superb start for Smith’s career and his soulful voice echoed unrequited love and the painfulness of a breakup. I was personally going through a breakup when his first album released, and I listened to it on repeat.

Since then, songs such as “Stay with Me”, “Latch” and “Lay Me Down” are still favorites among hopeless romantics. “The Thrill of It All”, Sam Smith’s second album, was filled with the same sort of “romantic desperation” factor that his first album captured. “In the Lonely Hour,” was a superb start for Smith’s career and his soulful voice echoed unrequited love and the painfulness of a breakup. I was personally going through a breakup when his first album released, and I listened to it on repeat. Since then, songs such as “Stay with Me”, “Latch” and “Lay Me Down” are still favorites among hopeless romantics. The anticipation for the second album held high expectations. On my first listen, I didn’t love it if I’m being honest.

But after taking a second listen, I really listened to the lyrics and appreciated the stripped down nature of a majority of the songs. There is also a sense of maturity to his album as he sings about being old enough to move on from past loves in his song “Too Good at Goodbyes.” If you’re looking for the most “Sam Smith” type song that has a tear shedding, it is “Palace.”

He sings, “Sometimes I wish we never built this palace, but real love is never a waste of time,” as  Smith evokes the pain of missing someone who you invested so much time in.If you’re looking for more upbeat songs, there’s only a select few. “Baby, You Make Me Crazy,” is virtually the only upbeat song from the album, and it’s a slow buildup, and then the chorus jumps to an ebullient vibe that’ll wake anyone up from listening to his slower tracks.

The lyrics are also relatable as he sings “Why do I always fall for the ones who have no courage?”Another soulful song includes “One Last Song,” which has a gospel feel from the trumpets, backup vocals and piano. My favorite track on the album is “No Peace” which is a duet between Smith and songwriter YEBBA, as they both sing about the unsettled feeling after a breakup when you still yearn for someone. The song benefits from a lively vocal performance from the unknown Arkansas singer YEBBA.

If you’re looking for an album that really hits the pathos, then Smith’s pop album will bring out the best of your emotions. I’ll admit that I’m not sure if his second album will be as iconic as his first, but I was pretty content with what I got. “The Thrill of It All” didn’t absolutely blow my mind, but I also don’t think Smith was going for that.

His tracks are a bit more subdued and instead of focusing on some sort of mainstream beats, he honed in on the lyrical importance of each song.  His second album overall lived up to my expectations. Again, this might be an album you have to listen to twice in order to appreciate it, but it is worth the wait.

Email Kavita Singh atopinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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