English singer/songwriter Sam Smith is quite possibly the man of the hour; the world latched onto his unique vocal when he featured on Disclosure’s 2013 breakthrough hit Latch, not too long after he released his solo debut single Lay Me Down, only to then have gone viral as the collaborative vocalist on Naughty Boy’s number one hit La La La. Sam has clearly been recognised by others in the industry as an undeniably talented vocalist, but he has yet another chance to shine with the release of his highly anticipated debut album; In The Lonely Hour.
Leading track Money On My Mind is a feat on its own; in the track by track interview, Smith explains the song is about a run in he had with somebody from the music industry, he even ‘twists’ his voice to imitate the samples you hear in many club happy tracks, and it’s tantalisingly catchy. It’s really great that there are new artists out there who take their art to heart, Sam obviously doesn’t render his services too easily and really knows what he wants out of his vocal. Sam captures the emotion of having an unrequited love for somebody in Good For Me, a song he describes as the most personal to him from the album both lyrically and true; that voice of his hurts in all the right ways to deliver that pain. Current single Stay With Me is a wonderful track, it demonstrates more of what can be done with Sam’s heaven of a voice; he has noted it as one of his proudest works, he claimed to have burst into tears when he heard all of the vocals in place.
Sam’s unlucky in love concept continues with Leave Your Lover, a ballad so self explanatory; he wishes the one he has fallen in love with would leave their current relationship behind in favour of himself, and his desperation is well reminisced in both the vocal and simplicity of the song. I’m Not The Only One is captivatingly head nodding, the constant beat of the drum and that immense vocal range keeps you hanging around until the very end. Sam spills the beans on his unrequited love in I’ve Told You Now, the sheer frustration can be heard in his harsher vocal when he exclaims ‘why do you think I come out here on my free will?’ The jealousy is turned on with the anthemic pop Like I Can, and we hear Sam on a whole new level with Life Support; it seems he is yet to find a boundary he can’t leap over, his falsetto and the overall dynamic of the track is phenomenal. More heartbreak is suffered in Not In That Way, and we are wowed by that voice one more time in closing track Lay Me Down.
Sam Smith is one strong person, vocalist and songwriter; he was brave enough to wear his heart on his sleeve and show the world that emotional struggles are universal. There are plenty of other British artists that aren’t afraid to express their feelings when it comes to love, take Adele and Paloma Faith for example, but there’s an element to Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour that enables you to imagine yourself in his shoes; those emotions are real, the track by track interview conducted for this album tells you so much about its origins. What a strong debut!