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Album review: Sam Smith - In The Lonely Hour

30th May 2014

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Sam Smith In The Lonely HourBrits Critics’ Choice Award Winner Sam Smith’s debut album In the Lonely Hour is released today and it’s a likeable mix of pop beats and soulful falsetto crooning.

Not only this, but the 22 year-old has also secured himself the number one spot in the UK’s top 40 chart with his emotional single Stay With Me.

The BBC Sound of 2014 has previously been confused with fellow singer John Newman, but despite the similarities in appearance and style, Smith appears to have a much different album topic agenda.

Tracks Leave Your Lover and I’m Not The Only One certainly demonstrate that he’s nailed the art of singing about love and misery, but after album opener Money On My Mind it feels like we’ve taken a very different turn to what was expected. Second song Good Thing takes it down a notch, and so begins a string of mid-paced ballads.

Having already been labelled as a male equivalent of singing sensation Adele, it’s clear to see that whilst there are parallels to the heartbreak of her album 21. However, In the Lonely Hour hasn’t taken the necessary risks with the lyrics nor the composition to be noticeably unique in style. Sam Smith plays it safe with the majority of his melodies.

The melancholy approach isn’t always a bad thing on Smith’s debut. Not In That Way is pleasantly simple, communicating a surprisingly strong stirring of sentiments in the listener. However there’s an obvious lack of variation which prevents the album from jumping out and grabbing your attention.

 Highlights of the instalment Smith has delivered to us here are his expressive voice and the previously heard chart dominators which include Naughty Boy’s La La La. A welcome bonus is the acoustic version of Disclosure’s club anthem Latch. A refreshing take on the innovative duo’s version, it shows us how drastically different the Cambridgeshire-born performer can make a song.

Sam Smith delivers us am enjoyable yet misleading debut. Whilst his vocal talents lend him success, In the Lonely Hour plays it too safe and there is too little here to excite listeners. 

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