Sam Smith’s ‘The Thrill of It All’ Is an Emotional Roller-Coaster Ride

Sam Smith’s album cover for “The Thrill of It All.” Photo courtesy of Genius.com

Over three years after his debut album was released to the world, English singer Sam Smith returned to the spotlight this November with his latest album, “The Thrill of It All.”

As an artist, Smith has evolved tremendously throughout the past couple of years. His first big hit in 2013 was his feature on Disclosure’s “Latch,” and since then he’s moved away from the dance and electronic pop music. “The Thrill of It All” is much more of a contemporary-pop album — if it’s even considered pop at all. The album features 14 brand-new, emotionally raw songs, like “Too Good at Goodbyes,” which came out as a single in early September.

From the first moment you press play, prepare to be taken on an emotional journey with heart-wrenching lyrics and stunning vocals. “Say It First,” a song about Smith needing to hear “I love you” from his partner first. It’s definitely not the type of song you’d expect to hear from such a popular male singer, although he’s said, “I feel just as much woman as I am man,” in an interview with The Sunday Times last month.

“Midnight Train” has a slow, familiar feeling that sounds a lot like another popular song. No, it’s not a rip-off of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Instead, Smith’s “Midnight Train” sounds extremely similar to Radiohead’s “Creep.” But this track is different than your typical breakup song. It takes the listener through his conflicting feelings about a relationship, going back and forth between “I’ll always love you” and “But I give another piece of me away every waking day that I’m with you.”

Most of the songs have seamless transitions, like how “Burning” sounds like it is still part of the end of “Midnight Train.” This smooth transition makes for an easy listening experience. Not all of the songs have as blurred of a line as those two, but the others still have a flow.

One of the most powerful songs on Smith’s album is “HIM.” It’s a unique play of a double entendre in a song, combining religion and sexuality into the lyrics. With lyrics like “Holy Father we need to talk, I have a secret that I can’t keep,” and “Say I shouldn’t be here but I can’t give up his touch, it is him I love,” Smith could be talking about either God or a man he loves.

In October, Smith released another hit single featured on the album called “Pray,” which is a song with heavy gospel vibes. He mentions dread and fear throughout the song and sings, “I block out the news, turn my back on religion.” It seems like a relevant song considering all the bad things that happen throughout the world that people are oblivious to, while others are lives are directly affected.

A lot of Smith’s songs from “The Thrill of It All” have a similar gospel sound and thoughtful lyrics.

The title track has similar lyrics to Frank Ocean’s 2012 song “Lost.” Both songs talk about getting “lost in the thrill of it all.”

Smith explores new territories with his latest album “The Thrill of It All” that’s on track to be №1 on the Billboard 200 chart, according to Billboard.com. Without a doubt, “The Thrill of It All” will make everyone feel something — whether that’s strength or weakness, happiness or sadness or just plain confusion.

Update on Nov. 16, 2017: “The Thrill of It All” is now №1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and Smith is №1 on the Billboard Artist 100 chart.