Sam Smith review: A one-note ode to misery

Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 05:00


The Thrill of It All

Sam Smith

Capitol Records


Misery is a valuable currency in pop music but to abuse it is criminal. On The Thrill of It All, a title so deadpan amid the overly produced misery, the thrills are few and Sam Smith is as guilty as hell. Lead single Too Good at Goodbyes sets the tone as he scorns every ex, but perhaps someone should introduce Sam to the phrase “he’s just not that into you”.

“I’ve been burning. Yes, I’ve been burning / Such a burden, this flame on my chest / No insurance to pay for the damage / Yeah, I’ve been burning up since you left,” he sings sincerely on Burning.

With reverberating piano chords, orchestral swells and a gospel choir hiding behind every key change on his second album, he’s stepping into Adele’s territory. While that schtick might be a temporary comfort to those nursing a shattered heart, the hand-wringing wears thin.

Even when he tries to be upbeat, on the doo-wop-heavy One Last Song, it comes with a woe-is-me undercut. “Maybe one day, I won’t sing about you,” he sings and for the sake of closure, I hope that’s the case.