Release Date: Nov 3, 2017
Record label: Capitol
Following a few years away from music and the spotlight altogether, Smith returns with a truly unadulterated portrayal of the love life of a millennial, but with sophisticated lyrical content and timeless tales of tenderness and despair that even those not of the same demographic as Smith can relate to, suggesting Smith is much wiser than his years. Opening with lead single "Too Good at Goodbyes" - a song that tells of someone's strength after intense heartbreak - Smith informs listeners from the offset that this album is a deeply personal one. It is clear from listening that while it may not contain as many 'hits' as it predecessor, The Thrill of it All is a stark portrayal of the life of a 20-something who has been thrust into the spotlight and intensely scrutinised, and lays the emotions that come with it bare.
Sam Smith's massive debut album was dominated by sad love songs such as 'Stay With Me', so it was fitting that he named it 'In The Lonely Hour'. Now the 25-year-old is back with a second effort called 'The Thrill Of It All', which suggests he might have lightened up a bit. Smith started out collaborating with Disclosure ('Latch') and Naughty Boy ('La La La'), so does this album herald his return to the dancefloor? Erm, no - the 10-track standard edition features nothing but ballads.
Sam Smith's breakout moment as a deep house don on Disclosure's "Latch," arguably the sexiest club banger of 2012, was a feint. Sure, dude could sing. But given the digital-chipmunk high notes and other effects, the jam gave little indication of his full power. His debut LP, In the Lonely Hour, clarified matters, racking up ridiculous stream and sales numbers, plus four Grammys.
In live performance Sam Smith sometimes seems to forget about the audience. Eyes half-closed, hands hugging elbows or buried in pockets, his attention is so tuned to his otherworldly voice that everything in this world disappears. It makes for riveting listening although the same can't always be said for the viewing. Sometimes it feels like all the emotions escaped through his mouth before they could reach his face.
Referring to In the Lonely Hour as a massive success would not be hyperbolic. Each one of its four singles reached the Top Ten in Sam Smith's native U.K. As the album racked up multi-platinum certifications, Smith collected four Grammys. The momentum continued with "Writing's on the Wall," the first James Bond theme to top the U.K.
“You must think that I'm stupid,” Sam Smith sings on “Too Good at Goodbyes,” the lead single from The Thrill of It All. No one would accuse Smith of being stupid as a recording artist, at least based on this savvy sophomore effort, which plays to his strengths while allowing him to get even deeper and more personal than he did on his 2014 debut, In the Lonely Hour. The production on this album is as spare and judicious as its predecessor's, sometimes bringing in brass sections for swinging R&B but just as often favoring spacious atmospherics.
A s Sam Smith recently tearfully confessed to a New York Times journalist, the songs on his second album were provoked by the collapse of a five-month relationship. On the one hand, this sounds like a pretty sad state of affairs. On the other, you can't help thinking: ker-ching! It's over 60 years since Frank Sinatra poured the misery of his disintegrating marriage to Ava Gardner into In the Wee Small Hours, and the breakup album has been with us ever since.
Sam Smith is an old soul with an easily bruised heart. He's looking for radiant, cinematic love, the kind that springs from a meet-cute at the supermarket when you reach for a can of soup and happen to bump into the man of your dreams. He knows what it's like to yearn for someone who barely notices you're alive. He's well acquainted with romantic desperation, the kind of pitiable state where you betray everything you believe in because you're just so lonely.
Y ou assume that the title of Sam Smith's long-awaited second album - The Thrill of It All - is a slightly weary one, weighing up the emotional cost of partying. Smith said as much on the BBC the other night. Actual thrills are scarce on these 10 tracks, which fulfil the brief of following up a hit album with a bankable sequel. These are songs dealing with heartbreak, coming out and the parlous state of the world in time-honoured, mainstream fashion: by making the sounds so palatable that any real sense of suffering is lost.
Reviewing a record by someone like Sam Smith is always something of a difficult task (and not just because we couldn't get hold of the record early). On one hand you've got the fact that millions clearly love the music that the man puts out; on the other you've got the inescapable feeling that it's not especially good. When an artist bankrolled by a major label performs a song about not having money on his mind (as Smith did on his debut album), it's hard not to question his general sincerity.
Who is Sam Smith kidding? "Every time you hurt me, the less that I cry," he sings, vowing to guard his fragile heart, in "Too Good at Goodbyes," the gospel-inspired opener from his new studio album, "The Thrill of It All. " But if there's anything this young British soul star has made clear since he emerged five years ago, it's that he'll never, ever run out of tears. True to Smith's ultra-sensitive brand, the drama runs as deep on "The Thrill of It All," due Friday, as it did on Smith's smash 2014 debut, "In the Lonely Hour," which sold millions of copies, spawned three top-10 singles and earned the singer an armload of Grammy Awards, including one for best new artist.