Thrill of It All is the second studio album by British singer Sam Smith, released on November 3, 2017. The album
was launched by the single “Too Good at Goddbyes”, which I have already reviewed, and “Pray”, just four weeks after and already official as the second single. Well, let’s start this new review that will not be track-by-track, but a total review of the entire album.
The album, my opinion, is very experimental. In fact, Smith seems to try many new genres for him, but at the same time does not get away much from the old album “The Lonely Hour”. It’s almost as if this second album was a probe launched for a really different third album. So, there is a maturation both in terms of sonority and of the topics addressed, which are a bit different, but little.
Starting from the sound, this second album, like the former, is almost entirely made up of ballads, but we see different elements of other genres: in “Say it first” there are elements of electronics and dubstep; “Too good at Goodbyes” and “HIM” are strongly gospel and soul; “One Last Song” affected from blues and “Baby, You Make Me Crazy” is just a very R&B song too; “Pray” contains strong hip-hop elements; “No Peace” is a mid-tempo; “Scars” is a ballad accompanied by a guitar; “The Midnight Train,” “Every Day,” and “Nothing to the Left for You” are pop-rock ballads, and the latter also have country sounds: and finally there are “Burning”, “Palace” and “The Thrill of Everything “that are the real classic ballads of this album.
I found this very positive. In the previous album, the songs were mostly classic ballads, and some had soul and gospel insertions. These variations I really liked, having contaminated ballads with real genres was a great idea in my opinion because it showed Sam’s vocal ability, his skill and various facets of this genre.
Let’s go to the themes. Moreover, the theme is love and heart breaking, recurring themes of the other album. But there are actually other more important themes and also a darker tone than the previous one and even more mature. In “Midnight Train” is Sam who decides to leave the person he loves to choose himself (and perhaps also the fame), in “No Peace” and “Burning” we see his life after a bad break and how all this is faced: drinking, smoking, not sleeping at night; much more grim than the mere solitude of the recent album. In “Nothing left for you”, on the other hand, he talks about a man who is no longer able to love for disappointment and warns his neighbor. In “Too Good at Goodbyes” he speaks of a quick recovery from a disappointment and, indeed, with “Baby, you make me crazy” talks about the healing power of music and in “Say It First” he talks about love that it is going to blossom. Very classical, instead, “Palace” and “The Thrill of It All”. But love is not the only topic of this album. In “HIM”, Smith, Gay and Catholic, talks about how he feels as gay Catholic with the image of a boy who wants to be accepted by his father, even divine. I was surprised by the phrase: “Do not try to tell me God does not care about us.” Nice song! In “Pray” it speaks of the world, of the caos that is and of all the pain that is there, that one has to pray.”Scars”, on the other hand, is dedicated to his parents and he thanks them for having loved and followed him, and, as he says, healed the scars. The song that closes the album is “One Day At a Time”, a pop-rock ballad that talks about taking life calmly and not always going fast, and making a beautiful image: having to dry a river a bottle at a time. Important themes, huh?
Now you want to know what are my favorite songs? Here are: “HIM”, “One day at a time”, “Scars”, “Pray” and “Burning”. There are songs I do not like: “Palace”, “The Thrill of It All” and “Nothing left to you”. Maybe because they can really be part of In The Lonely Hours.
In general, I like the album very much, and Sam puts out an extraordinary voice. I highly recommend it, especially for the issues being dealt with.
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I leave you my review of “Too Good at Goodbyes”: Too Good at Goodbyes – Review