By Rachel Woodward, November 8 2017 —
Known for crooning ballads of heartbreak and sadness, Sam Smith returns after a three-year hiatus with his sophomore album, The Thrill of It All. The 10-track album is reminiscent of his debut, In the Lonely Hour, with familiar odes to heartache and loneliness. The album provides listeners with a glimpse into Smith’s artistic growth since 2014.
At just over half an hour, The Thrill of It All is a quick listen but feels fully realized. The album also carries more diversity in genre than In the Lonely Hour, a welcome change for fans of Smith.
The album opens with the single “Too Good at Goodbyes,” which has frequented top-40 radio waves since the months leading up to the album’s Nov. 3 release. This track demonstrates Smith’s vocal charm, easing in and out of falsetto and into lower ranges.
“Say it First” is more understated and plays with vocals alongside subtle accompaniment. The soul-filled track follows the opening tune and eases listeners into the more upbeat songs on the album.
Retro sounds emerge later in the album with tracks like “One Last Song” and “Baby, You Make Me Crazy,” using horns and an upbeat tempo alongside backup vocals to evoke nostalgic pop-love songs of yore.
“No Peace,” featuring YEBBA, is extremely welcomed. The two artists play back and forth with unique vocals but similar pain, creating a streamlined and impactful track. For anyone going through heartache, this song is sure to cut deep.
Like the album’s opener, The Thrill of it All ends with a single. This time, “Pray” works its way into the tracklist with vocal acrobatics and a gospel-esque choral accompaniment that ends the album on a soulful note.
Overall, the album is an easy listen and will resonate with those with healing hearts. Though that’s what Smith is known for, The Thrill of it All does bring its own unique qualities that are sure to stay in listeners’ heads for a long time to come.