Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All: Review
Get the tissue box ready as Sam Smith is going to take you on an emotional rollercoaster with this new album.
The Thrill of It All marks Smith’s much awaited and anticipated second studio album. After the great successes of his last album In the Lonely Hour, which reached multiplatinum status and saw Smith receiving six Grammy nominations (of which he won four), expectations have been high and we have not been disappointed.
Proving himself to be one of the most expressive vocalists of his generation, Smith’s beautiful and gender-nonconforming voice soars over lonely piano chords and choirs. The Thrill of It All produces a tsunami of genuinely moving lyrical misery, with splashes of Smith’s sharp wit and humour throughout.
The first single from the album ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ (which has achieved over 120 million views on YouTube so far) simply conveys his uncertainty and vulnerability towards love. These feelings are pervasive throughout the album and are epitomised in the lines “I’m never gonna let you close to me/ Even though you mean the most to me”. After the ending of his previous relationship, The Thrill of It All is bruised yet romantic. ‘Say It First’ states he is waiting for “everything in your world to align with my world”, demonstrating how impossible he now views love.
“Burning” is a tortured track which begins with a haunting a capella. Showcasing his impressive vocal range, his vibrato touches are dramatic in contrast with his stereotypical falsetto. Rich choral backing vocals feature on multiple tracks, giving the album a powerful gospel tone. The greatest and most autobiographical track on the album is “HIM”, in which Smith sings about heartbreak from a distinctly LGBTQ+ point of view. He states, “Holy Father, judge my sin/ I’m not afraid of what they’ll bring/ I'm not the boy you thought you wanted/ I love him”, taking a brave stance and forming a civil rights anthem. He speaks openly about the conflict between his sexual orientation and religious upbringing. The only collaboration on the album is “No Peace” which features unsigned artist Yebba Smith, to make a beautiful ballad.
“I have never believed in you, but I’m gonna pray”, a powerful line in his single ‘Pray’, illustrates his lasting uncertainty as he closes the album. Overall, The Thrill of It All brings together stunning vocals, stripped back acoustics and meaningful lyrics. It has been a long wait for this second album from Sam Smith, but it has been well worth it - I will be listening to nothing else for the next few months.