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Sam Smith - The Thrill Of It All

Posted by April Galenzoski on 2018/02/26

In a brief period of time, Sam Smith has accomplished what many veteran artists would find unimaginable over the span of their careers. With one breakthrough album, 2014’s In The Lonely Hour, Smith captured four Grammys, three Brit Awards, a Juno trophy, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his Bond flick ‘Spectre theme song, The Writing’s On The Wall. And to top it off, his music has amassed over 8 billion streams.  And when your success is based on relationship failures and unrequited love, there’s no reason to modify your recipe the next time around.

The Thrill Of It All shouldn’t be considered a carry-over or blatant continuation of Smith’s debut album, though again the falsetto voiced U.K. blue-eyed soul singer taps into another project of poignant and relatable themes. The initial single Too Good At Goodbyes, which debuted at #1 on various worldwide charts, reflects on the on-again, off-again relationship drama with a captivating choir-like backing style and simplistic piano and string accompaniment.

I can offer reassurance that The Thrill Of It All isn’t completely the stuff of melancholy inner reflection and self doubt. One Last Song is classic 60’s doo-wop soul with another superb gospel-esque backing to Smith’s more gritty presentation. Baby, You Make Me Crazy is another tune that attests to the soul roots infusion and predicated on a retro sound with horn arrangement. Midnight Train, although mid-tempo, begins with a foreboding intro both musically and vocally, then smooths and sooths out as he rationalizes his reasons for getting aboard his relationship escape route.

Smith is powerful and dramatic on Pray and HIM touching on a spiritual side and again amplified with backing vocal arrangement to deliver anthemic performances of inspirational captivation.  No Peace introduces a relatively unknown yet talented commodity in YEBBA, an Arkansas native. Collaboratively she and Smith are perfect complements on this slower tempo duet of superb vocal engagement.

Self doubt, self-confessional and self -reflection woven into lyrics yet again make The Thrill Of It All another authentically engaging collage of inner thoughts. Musically, the production and arrangement provide the appropriate mood to convey the message. Perhaps one day in the not too distant future, relationship stability and romance won’t be those elusive life themes for Smith. But until that day arrives, his deeply loyal base of international fans doesn’t appear to mind him lamenting about it.

Reviewed by Stu Berketo

On-air Host


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