ALBUM REVIEW: Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
It seemed like British singer-songwriter Sam Smith got his big break when his vocals made it on to Disclosure’s viral hit “Latch” in February, and then was destined to fade away a one-hit wonder. His studio album In the Lonely Hour proves that he’s just as powerful on his own. The sultry, lullaby-esque album is a far cry from “Latch,” with minimalist instrumentals and a spotlight on Smith’s distinct vocals. In my opinion no one has successfully pulled off the falsetto since Justin Timberlake, but Smith’s soulful voice sounds like something from another era, with heavy R&B and soul influences, and we can’t help but fall in love.
Since In the Lonely Hour debuted earlier this month, Smith has been dubbed “the male version of Adele” by numerous publications. It’s appropriate, since this particular album centers around the emotion behind love and heartbreak. His music has been criticized by many for being too melancholy, but Smith has asserted in several interviews that his sadness was the inspiration behind these songs, and he’s unapologetic about it. When asked by Digital Spy to describe the album, he told interviewers, “I fell in love with someone who didn’t love me back, and it made me get into this head space of, ‘Will I find love? When will I find love?’ So, it’s my way of defining what is love, and how unrequited love is just as painful, just as powerful, as what we call ‘normal’ love.”
Crooning verses like “Won’t you stay with me? / ‘Cause you’re all I need / This ain’t love, it’s clear to see / But darling, stay with me” and “You’ve been so unavailable / Now sadly I know why / Your heart is unobtainable / Even though Lord knows you have mine,” it’s safe to say that broken-hearted lovers everywhere will now have a new anthem to keep them company at night. Although the lyrics sometimes verge on sappy, Smith’s authentic, passionate voice makes you more sympathetic than annoyed with his sadness. Everyone knows what it’s like to have a broken heart, and this album embodies the complex emotions behind finding and then losing love perfectly. Unless you were the girl that broke Smith’s heart, it’s hard not to have your heart melted by such raw and vulnerable love ballads. (I’d never break your heart, Sammy boy.) [soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/142370360″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]