REVIEW: Sam Smith’s new album describes every relationship you’ve ever been in


Courtesy of Capitol Records

Sharlene Phou

Sam Smith’s sophomore album, “The Thrill of It All,” offers a collection of 10 songs that takes listeners on a “thrill” ride through the different stages of love and life. While his last album, “In the Lonely Hour,” grapples with the loneliness that comes with unrequited love, “The Thrill of It All” offers much more.

This album’s lead single, “Too Good at Goodbyes” seems to pick up right where “The Lonely Hour” album left off. The song is about someone who has been left heartbroken many times before and is now wary of getting too close to someone new, afraid that they too may leave.

In contrast, “Say It First” is a song that will stir up those butterflies-in-your-stomach feelings that come with falling in love. Simply put, the song is about that nerve-wracking need of wanting to hear your partner say they love you first. At the song’s beginning, Smith describes how he’s used to feeling empty and how strange it feels to fall in love again. “Say It First” gives you hope that Smith has finally broken free from his lonely hours.

Smith switches up the tone again with “Midnight Train,” a song about putting yourself first when drifting from a relationship. It’s highly relatable for those who feel unfulfilled in a relationship and need to get away to focus on some self-love

“I choose me, and I know that’s selfish, love / you are a dream, and I can’t thank you enough / but I give another piece of me away / every waking day that I’m with you,” Smith solemnly sings.

Although Smith’s song explains that he still has love for his partner and will surely miss them, it would be wrong of him to stay and give them hope for a future. He ultimately chooses himself over his partner and walks away from the relationship.

Perhaps the most personal and empowering track on the album is “HIM”. Although he is an openly gay man, Smith has never directly referred to men as the target of his affection in his love songs. In “HIM,” Smith repeatedly declares “it is him I love” to a “Holy Father,” a reference to God or a paternal father.

“HIM” tells a coming-out narrative that many LGBTQ+ people can relate to. Smith opens the song by saying he has a secret that he can no longer keep. Although he may be seen as a sinner, he can’t deny his feelings.

“Holy Father, judge my sins / I’m not afraid of what they will bring / I’m not the boy that you thought you wanted / I love him,” Smith sings.

But not all the songs on this album are slow and solemn.

The track immediately following “HIM” pulls you out of its heavy tone and lifts your spirits. “Baby, You Make Me Crazy” has a more fun, upbeat drum melody that anyone can easily sing along to. It features a choir and sounds reminiscent of old soul or jazz. The song stands as another heartbreak anthem and encourages getting over a breakup by jamming to good music, hanging out with close friends and having an all-around good time to forget your sorrows.