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Sam Smith The thrill of it all

posted 8 Jan 2018, 03:52 by Scene Alba Magazine   [ updated 8 Jan 2018, 04:59 ]

1 stars

Sam Smith is disconsolate, bummed out, broken-hearted and on the verge of tears. In a word: sad. Melancholy is the metier for the  vocalist who won four Grammys for his 2014 debut album, "In the Lonely Hour." And starting with the lead single "Too Good at Goodbyes," "The Thrill of it All" – an ironic title, it seems – does not deviate from that sorrowful strategy. The 25-year-old crooner's vocals can come off as too mannered, and to be sure, he's most at home in the middle of the road (where's a HGV when you need one). But conveying heartache and vulnerability is what Smith excels at, and "Thrill" is for the most part an effective rebound from "Writing's on the Wall," his leaden theme for the 2015 James Bond movie "Spectre" (which won a best song Oscar despite its shortcomings). Occasionally, the tempo does pick up  most notably on the most welcome old-school soul nod "Baby You Make Me Crazy." But even then, the singer is bawling over a lost love before the end of first verse. He's most appealing on "Thrill" when earnestly struggling for answers, often with the help of gospel singers, as on the out and proud "Him" and heartfelt, huge-hit-to-be "Pray," in which he scolds himself for his own ignorance and naivete after a recent visit to Iraq. It will sell in bucket loads and I needed a sick bucket by the end of it.