Sam Smith’s debut album In The Lonely Hour is simply stunning from start to finish. With many genres of music from pop, soul and R&B blending together with his stunning vocals it is a joy to listen to. His songwriting is sublime and heartfelt on each track and it is very clear that it is written from personal experience which of course it is. Written about falling in love with a man who didn’t love him back the album is a realistic, heartbreaking and heartfelt insight into unrequited love and the effects it can have on a person when the person you love rejects you in that way. It is refreshing really to hear someone around my own age singing about these deep emotions which a lot of us (including myself) have felt. Generally a lot of singers in their early to mid twenties sing about break-ups, relationship revenge and wild parties which is only the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to early to mid twenty-something romances. A lot of the time people do fall for people who don’t want them and that is an aspect that is often overlooked in music. On this album Sam brings the unrequited love situation to the fore and it is a very honest portrayal, and I say this from experience, of the way it makes you feel gloriously happy as well as gloriously sad. I can’t praise the album highly enough. It’s amazing and a must listen. In an era where there is so much hype about new artists who are over-hyped Smith is certainly not one of them. On this album he lives completely up to his hype.
The following is my track-by-track guide to this amazing album:
Money On My Mind
This track is one of the only fast songs on this album and opens the album with a lot of atmosphere. His amazing signature falsetto on this track paves the way for the sound of that incredible falsetto on later tracks. Stunning.
This track tells the story of dreaming that the man he loved would love him back in a dream about finding him mugged outside his house and that in a panic he would come running out and for that moment he felt he loved him too. It is a beautiful song which displays the inner want and desires which are present in unrequited love with a stunning instrumental ranging from contemporary to 1940s’.
Stay With Me
The biggest song from the album Stay With Me is amazing. Drifting from heartfelt lyrics and vocals to a rousing chorus it is perfect.
Leave Your Lover
The introduction to this song is so subtle and acoustic. It compliments the hauntingly beautiful vocals of Smith’s and as the music increases slightly throughout the song it seems to mirror the emotion and longing in Smith’s vocals. Beautiful.
I’m Not The Only One
Starting slowly this song rises into an uplifting ending instrumentally and sounds fantastic.
I’ve Told You Now
“You know what I mean, it’s like walking in the heat all day with no water. It’s like waiting for a friend watching everybody else meet theirs on that corner.” is the opening to this track and it is very truthful of the depth of emotion someone feels when the one they love they can’t have while all around them they seem to see other people easily finding their love. It is a beautiful, subtle song with a love of depth.
Like I Can
This is my favourite song on the album. Primarily Sam’s voice is soul/pop/R&B in my opinion but I do think there is an edge to his vocals which is a rock edge and I also really like that too. And on this particular track about romantic jealousy that edge and attitude shines through. Love it.
This song opens with Sam’s breathy, husky vocals before breaking into a falsetto which is in direct contrast but which works incredibly well together. There is so man falsettos in this song it frightens me. I don’t know how he manages to do it. Hats off to Mr. Smith indeed.
Not In That Way
Another quite subtle song with that deep emotion of knowing that the man you love doesn’t love you in the way you wish the would and the pain that causes you when you are reliant on them and wanting to live in a fantasy that one day they will although you know it will never be.
Lay Me Down
A very romantic song of wanting to lie down next to the one you love. It’s quite poetic in parts and the song builds and builds as it progresses mirroring the emotions displayed in the lyrics. The part where the song gets faster and uplifting is so original and is perfect for the song mirroring a need and a longing in a hopeless romantic situation.
Up until now when I’ve used the word uplifting I have meant the instrumentals because obviously the lyrics and overall theme of the album is heartbreaking. But on this track I mean uplifting in both senses. This song is the transition from the darkness you feel when you love someone who doesn’t love you into the light when you no longer love them and are ready to move on and hopefully meet someone who does feel the same way. It has a very Motown/Luther Vandross feel to it and makes you want to dance. This song as well as Money On My Mind, Like I Can, La La La and the faster bit in Lay Me Down showcase how versatile Sam’s voice is because even though he is the new King of ballads he can certainly sing fast songs equally as good.
This is another one of the subtle songs on the album instrumentally and talks about knowing the importance of what you have found and a deep need to try and hold onto it and Sam’s vocals are sublime as always.
La La La
The Naughty Boy song featuring vocals by Sam is a great song to dance to and Sam’s voice is in fine form as always and isn’t overshadowed by all the production on the song.
Make It To Me
This is a beautiful song and is the perfect closing track for the album. It has that beautiful and uplifting story to it of knowing someone is out there for you and that one day you will find them.