One of the most talented new artists of the 10s decade, Sam Smith, has made his return to the music scene with his sophomore album The Thrill Of It All. Preceded by the beautiful top 5 ballad, “Too Good At Goodbyes,” The Thrill Of It All expands on what made Sam a critical and commercial juggernaut.
The album does not get off to the strongest start, “Too Good at Goodbyes,” isn’t particularly innovative, and the following three tracks don’t capture enough attention. This isn’t to say that the tracks aren’t good, they are, they’re just not great.
Things take a massive turn with the fifth track on the album, “Burning.” Led by a haunting acapella, “Burning,” turns a cigarette metaphor into three minutes of raw emotional vocal acrobatics. The following track, “HIM,” begins the theme of religion versus sexuality and it is absolutely stunning. The choir elevates this song immensely and this is probably the best song that Sam has ever written. It cannot be understated how incredible this track is, it instantly redeems the first four.
“Baby, You Make Me Crazy,” the sole uptempo track is brassy, jazzy, and full of intent. This album is truly about the “thrill of it all.” From pain and love to anxiety (“No Peace (feat. YEEBA)”) and reparation (“Scars”), Sam chronicles every emotion he has experienced over the past few years in a crisp 50-minute opus. Sam’s willingness to use the “he/him” pronouns and directly address his troubled relationship with religion and his sexuality symbolizes immense growth and maturity.
With a sharper pen and grittier and huskier voice, Sam has returned with more fire and passion than ever before. Sam has created a lush soundscape peppered with biting and uncomfortably truthful lyrics to culminate in one of the strongest albums of the year.
Key Tracks: “HIM,” “No Peace (feat. YEEBA),” “Nothing Left For You”