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Album Review: The Thrill Of It All

By Quedus Babalola
Staff Writer

It’s been three years since British singer Sam Smith released his debut album, “In the Lonely Hour.” In 2014, Smith’s album debuted and was able to garner success not only in the UK, but also in the U.S. It earned Smith six Grammy nominations that year, and he won four of the awards including Best New Artist and Record of the Year.

A year later in December of 2015, Smith released a remixed version of “In The Lonely Hour”, featuring John Legend, Mary J. Blige, ASAP Rocky and more. After all of his success worldwide, it seemed as if Smith disappeared and was nowhere to be found for three years. “I was scared he wasn’t going to release anymore music,” Ashley Dugue, a sophomore biology major said. “Some artists only release one album and they’re satisfied. If that’s what he was planning, I still would have been happy for him but I’m a really greedy fan; I need new music,” Dugue said.

Predictably, fans were overjoyed and sent social media into a frenzy, when Smith sent out a tweet simply stating “4 days,” on Sept. 4. Fans didn’t know what to expect with this new single because of Smith’s absence both on social media and in the public eye. “Sam Smith has a special place in my heart because he has helped me heal from one of the worst relationships I’ve ever been in,” Melanie Oswego, senior business administration major, said. “I’m a bit scared because he just left and never said what he was going to do, and here he is with new music. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited, but I hope he doesn’t disappoint,” she said.

The single, “Too Good At Goodbyes” was released on Sept. 8, and with it, Smith reminded his fans why they fell in love with him in the first place. The song was definitely inspired by his hit song “Stay With Me,” but not too much that would make you second guess whether he was able to make new music with a different sound. The song is based on a recent breakup; Smith is coming to the realization that he is getting better at letting go without being as hurt as in previous times.

The next single released was “Pray” on Oct. 5. Timbaland and Jimmy Napes co-produced the song for Smith. The song has gospel and hip hop influences. Smith used this song to express his deep concern for the world we live in. The album was fully released on Nov. 3 on streaming platforms and retail stores, including Target, Best Buy, and Walmart. The album sounds like a couple of chapters ripped out of Smith’s diary. Smith speaks on coming out, accepting himself, failed relationships, God, and how he plans to move on from where he is now. The standard album has 10 songs, while the special edition has 14 songs. “No Peace” is the only song on the album that features another artist, YEBBA. The song describes all the things they would do for their partner to ensure that they are safe and happy or they won’t be at peace with themselves. The title track can be found on the special edition. Smith explains why all the negatives in his life have become the thrills of his life.

Overall, the album definitely showcases a more vulnerable and relatable Smith, but does not scare the listeners away with content that may be too harsh to the ear.

The album is available on streaming platforms and at major music retailers. Smith has also announced that his world tour will kick off next year in Sheffield, England on March 20 and end in Calgary, Canada on Sept. 13.

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