Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 16, 2014 at 4:03 PM | Page modified June 16, 2014 at 10:25 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Review: Sam Smith an emotional powerhouse on debut

Sam Smith, "In the Lonely Hour" (Capitol)


AP Music Writer

advertising

Sam Smith, "In the Lonely Hour" (Capitol)

"Why am I so emotional?" newcomer Sam Smith sings on his Top 10 hit, "Stay With Me."

"No, it's not a good look, need some self-control." It may not be a good look, but as far as the sound? Amazing.

The 22-year-old English singer's soulful pop debut, "In the Lonely Hour," is a passionate, heart wrenching album that explores the emotions behind falling in love with someone who doesn't feel the same. It's a brave and honest album that captures the mood perfectly, especially on the bold "Leave Your Lover" and the guitar-tinged "Not In That Way," where he closes with the heartbreaking line: "You'd say, 'I'm sorry, believe me, I love you, but not in that way.'"

The 10-track set is full of more lyrics like that -- words that reel you into Smith's story of loneliness and love lapses, making for beautiful music. "I'm Not the Only One" is addictive, the sounds of strings stun on "Good Thing" and the falsetto heavy "Life Support" feels like falsetto heaven.

"Lonely Hour" is not all depressing: Album opener "Money On My Mind" is full of upbeat swag, while the dance-soul bonus track, "Restart," feels classic. There are also the hits Smith co-stars on that are helping him shine brighter: Disclosure's "Latch" and Naughty Boy's "La La La," which showcase the breakthrough singer's versatility.

Smith's powerhouse voice -- full of impressive high notes -- also helps lift the album's sad tone, bringing on a fiery, spirited vibe much like Adele on her masterful "21" album. And Smith even borrows from some of her top collaborators: Eg White, who co-wrote and produced Adele's "Chasing Pavements," is behind "Good Thing," while "Set Fire to the Rain" co-writer and producer Fraser T. Smith helps on "Not In that Way."

With this release, Smith won't feel alone for much longer.

___

Follow Mesfin Fekadu at twitter.com/MusicMesfin



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Autos news and research

Honda fuel-cell vehicle nears launch

Honda fuel-cell vehicle nears launch


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►