British singer-songwriter Sam Smith is back from his three-year hiatus with The Thrill Of It All. The sophomore album encompasses Smith at his best: almost painfully personal lyrics mixed with heartwarming vocals that sway the listener. 

In The Thrill Of It All, Smith blends modern pop with the soulfulness of older music. One could argue that Smith was highly influenced by artists such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. However, no matter the influences, it’s easy to say that Smith is a modern-day crooner. In a way, Smith’s album has a refreshing sense and sound to it. In 2017, arguably most pop is electronic based. It’s nice to hear an album that contains the modern pop essence, yet adapts vintage sounds. This can especially be seen on songs such as “Midnight Train” and “One Last Song.”

Another tactic Smith uses throughout the album, is the use of a gospel choir. Songs such as the powerful “Pray,” the lead single “Too Good At Goodbyes” and many more utilize the gospel vocals. The addition of the gospel choir gives the songs a much greater cinematic presence along with a greater complimenting contrast to Smith’s falsetto voice. 

In a Beats 1 radio interview with Zane Lowe, Smith explained how he wanted to challenge himself with this album. Overall, the singer-songwriter touches on topics such as love, sexuality, religion and dealing with fame. The heavier topics show just how much Smith has grown in maturity and as a person throughout these past three years. 

Smith has captured the hearts of fans all over the world at only 25 years old and The Thrill Of It All is only his second album. He evokes emotion and sings about relatable topics, all while producing killer vocals. There isn’t much more to ask for from a modern-day pop artist. 

Sam Smith has cemented himself as a pop icon with The Thrill Of It All. He’s shown how music doesn’t necessarily need gimmicks, and sometimes going back to vintage sounds achieves a better result. The singer-songwriter did what he does best, producing personable lyrics and illustrating beautifully crafted sounds. It’s definite that his efforts paid off with The Thrill Of It All.  

Rating: 4/5

@mollyschramm2

ms660416@ohio.edu 

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