GT Music

Review: Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

One of our favourite artists of 2014 has released his debut album…

Easily one of the best singers to arise over the past year, Sam Smith has finally released his debut album In the Lonely Hour, and we’re ever so slightly in love.

If it weren’t enough that his voice could melt even the iciest of hearts, his songs hold a genuine emotional depth, while maintaining catchy hooks. Something that, if you ask us, is lacking amongst other music acts recently.

Beginning with the stellar number-one hit Money On My Mind, the perfect way to capture the attention of the listener, Sam Smith starts things off by showing us his vocal versatility. Flipping into falsetto with nonchalant ease, it’s no wonder he claimed both the Critics’ Choice award at the BRITs this year, but also topped the BBC’s Sound of 2014 poll.

Immediately, the vibe becomes more acoustic, with tracks like Good Thing and latest single, Leave Your Lover, riddled with gentle guitars, romantic strings, and soft piano chords, while Sam’s voice seems to float effortlessly throughout.

The album continues with the general theme that Sam Smith is quite unlucky in love. We really don’t understand how and why this is the case, that voice is truly beautiful, and he’s got an adorable face to top it off.

However this must be the case, as tracks like Not In That Way and Like I Can, which holds a surprising resemblance to Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, only go on to confirm this.

We spoke before about how much we loved his single Stay With Me, which of course, features on the album. Let us just reiterate, we love it. Gospel-tinged and soul-filled, naturally it reached the top spot on the UK Top 40. Sticking with the gospel influence is I’m Not the Only One, not dissimilar to Stay With Me with its laid-back drumbeats.

In a slight change of direction, the track Life Support has a pulsing electronic drum loop while Sam’s voice flutters over the top. Keeping in the same vein comes Restart, which you’ll hear if you’re lucky enough to own the deluxe edition of the album.

Distinctly more up-tempo, yet fuelled with the same type of electronic drums, Restart is as a funky, disco-inspired track with a great series of vocal effects that see Smith’s voice cut and pasted as it stutters and jumps across the beat.

Although we would highly recommend the deluxe edition, which provides a couple of fast-paced numbers (including Naughty Boy’s La La La) to balance out the album in its entirety, the standard edition of In the Lonely Hour more than holds its own.

Sam Smith is a musical export this country should be truly proud of, and with his debut album, proves that popular music isn’t always as emotionally devoid as is commonly perceived.

GT gives it: 5 stars

Words Nick Verrell, @nickverrell

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