There are certain voices in music that are immediately recognizable. These voices are unique without being annoying or laughable. One can hear them playing on a stereo across the street or in the aisle at a grocery store and simply say, “Hey, that’s (insert singer here)!”
Sam Smith is fast becoming one of those inescapably distinct voices. His impeccably strong debut album, “In The Lonely Hour” was dropped earlier this year in May. Almost two months later, it is still charting on both the iTunes top singles and top albums.
After opening with the bouncy single, “Money On My Mind”, the album immediately jumps into the string intro and quiet guitar of “Good Thing.” The transition between the first two tracks alone showcases Smith’s dynamic range of styles and emotions that fill “In The Lonely Hour.”
“I had a dream I was mugged outside your house,” he sings.
Described by Smith as “a diary of a lonely 21-year-old,” the album is an open letter to an unrequited love.
The true standout moments on this album are when Smith wanders into his upper range. The pureness of his voice conveys the heartbreaking lyrics so well that this album is at its best in times true to its title: when one is walking home from a party alone or can’t sleep at 3 a.m. Songs such as “Leave Your Lover,” “Like I Can” and “Not In That Way” just convey those spaces so well. One can hear the emptiness, the longing and the hope that a certain someone is going to text back.
Aside from the inevitable reality that most of the radio singles (See: “La La La”) are going to grow obnoxious as they are overplayed — the price of success — there is not too much negative to say about “In The Lonely Hour.”
For a debut record, it does all the right things. It is relatable. It is not monotonous. It has just the right number of fast-paced and slower songs. It has its singles as well as more personal tracks. Most importantly, it is unique. Sam Smith will now face a promising career — and after a debut like this, the world will be watching to see where he goes next.
By Wright Franklin
KRUA Music Manager