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Album Review: Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

 

In the past year, up-and-coming soul superstar Sam Smith has taken the music world by storm with his #1 debut album, In The Lonely Hour. I sat down with Meghan to analyze the album track-by-track  and break down Smith’s winning masterpiece.

 

Track 1. Money On My Mind

Meghan: This is pretty good.

Aashna: This is the sort of thing you can wake up to. And start dancing around while getting ready to.

Meghan: *starts dancing* The chorus isn’t for everyone, but it definitely grows on you.

Aashna: I would definitely sing along with the chorus pretty much wherever I am.

Meghan: So if it comes on shuffle while you’re in the library?

Aashna: I will forever be belting this chorus. BELTING.

Meghan: The verses and choruses are really upbeat and energetic, and then in the bridge Sam really breaks it down and makes it smooth with silky riffs and harmonies.

Aashna: And then picks it up again for a last chorus! BAM!

 

Track 2. Good Thing

Meghan: * gasps * This song is so good. I love the violin riffs at the start.

Aashna: It sounds like it samples a classic movie soundtrack. And then the simple yet urgent soft guitar comes in.

Meghan: Followed by a beautiful downbeat a minute later! Talk about a subtle build-up.

Aashna: This song’s lyrics are beyond emotional. Smith weaves a beautiful but upsetting tale starting with the very first line: “I had a dream I was mugged outside your house”. Now, if those lyrics don’t catch attention, what would?

Meghan: It comes to an emotional catharsis when the song comes to silence except for Smith softly saying, “I made the decision not to answer your calls.”

Aashna: Chills. The whole thing gives me chills.

 

Track 3. Stay With Me

Aashna: Not like we haven’t heard this a billion times.

Meghan: It’s not my favourite song on the album. I don’t really have anything to say. It’s good though, like everything Sam does.

Aashna: It has a steady beat and a powerful chorus that pushes you to sing along.

Meghan: The gospel along with the accompanying piano really gets me going.

Aashna: In a good way, right?

Meghan: What other way is there when it comes to Sam Smith?

 

Track 4. Leave Your Lover

Meghan: Aww, this song is so sweet and sad.

Aashna: I wouldn’t call it sweet lyrically if you think about it.

Meghan: The simple guitar and piano is adorable. Just adorable.

Aashna: The whole thing is arranged very tenderly, like a lullaby. Once again, the violins in this song are perfect. Not too loud or too quiet.

Meghan: The soft emotional vocals are just perfect.

Aashna: Makes me wonder who this song is about…

Meghan: I wonder how the conversation went when that person found out that this song was about him.

Aashna: It would be an HONOUR.

 

Track 5. I’m Not The Only One

Meghan: SO BLUESY.

Aashna: This song is surprisingly basic to me.

Meghan: Really? I love it!

Aashna: I do too! I just think there could have been more risks with this one.

Meghan: I think it really delves deep into…emotions…it feels real.

Aashna: What you’re trying to say is that it’s raw. The best part of this song is the last vocal run at the end.

Meghan: Wait, the bridge isn’t basic! It brings in gospel, violins, everything. So there.

Aashna: I’ve been proved wrong.

 

Track 6. I’ve Told You Now

Aashna: THIS IS MY FAVOURITE SONG ON THE ALBUM. THE “WHAT THE HELL” SONG.

Meghan: Me too. Hands down. He makes you really feel his emotions, like “what the hell.”

Aashna: “What the hell” should be a new emotion. Also, this song should be renamed “What The Hell”.

Meghan: Like most of Sam’s songs, it starts with a simple guitar and piano sound with Smith’s gentle vocals on top, then it builds up to a ridiculous crescendo and then to an epic chorus.

Aashna: And then the bridge is just epic crazy. Sam Smith at his best on this album. The EP was better.

Meghan: In the bridge, he just starts screaming “I’ve told you now” over and over again and I’m like yeah buddy, you just got told.

Aashna: He makes screaming beautiful. This bridge is everything. If you’re not bobbing your head to this song at any point, I owe you twenty bucks.

Meghan: AND snapping your fingers. It’s so snappy. Also, more violins!

Aashna: We talk too much about violins.

 

Track 7. Like I Can

Aashna: “Rolling In The Deep”.

Meghan: Yeah, he sounds like male Adele in this one! Also he’s British too.

Aashna: This song needed to be a single. This song needs a bright beautiful music video with dancing people.

Meghan: it’s just so fun. I love the acoustic guitar and tambourine together.

Aashna: I love how the gospel only comes in while he sings the title of the song.

Meghan: It’s because Like I Can is sacred. And they slow it down for the bridge again!

Aashna: Very “Money On My Mind”-eqsue.

Meghan: He definitely has a formula going on for his more upbeat tracks.

 

Track 8. Life Support

Aashna: This song is Sam Smith at his most Beyonce. This song is just like “Halo”.

Meghan: I literally feel like he made this song in tribute to Beyonce. That’s literally how I feel.

Aashna: This whole song gives me so many chills.

Meghan: I love his range in this song. He goes from super-low to falsetto in seconds.

Aashna: He makes it sound easy. I can’t do that when I sing along!

Meghan: Put this on the top of your karaoke do-not-sing list.

Aashna: * starts singing *

Meghan: No.

Aashna: This bridge is just haunting.

Meghan: I love the trumpets. And his vocal on top of them are just immaculate.

Aashna: This is the only time we hear trumpets in the album! Nice touch. And then he breaks it down at the very end where his vocals trail off, echoing to silence.

Meghan: This song has a really abrupt ending. Leaves you wanting more.

Aashna: We have two more songs!

 

Track 9. Not In That Way

Meghan: Really slow. Super sad. Does NOT pick up.

Aashna: This song is my least-played on the album because it just makes me feel really, really sad. Like I think I’m tearing up.

Meghan: Oh my god, it’s just a song! You know what? Sam Smith just does that to people. His voice, his lyrics, the raw emotions. They just touch people.

Aashna: Reach out and grab people. Actually, THIS is Sam Smith at his best. He’s really doing his thing here.

Meghan: Yeah, I guess this really is his element.

Aashna: Note that the only instrumentation in this track is a soft, low electric guitar, and occasionally a bit of bass. It just makes the raw emotion of heartbreak even heavier.

Meghan: Even more heartbreaking.

Aashna: There, there. Next song.

 

Track 10. Lay Me Down.

Meghan: Oh my god, YES. * starts singing *

Aashna: This song makes me so mad.

Meghan: WHY?!

Aashna: He recorded a much, much better version of this song two years ago and put it on his SoundCloud. This updated version does NOT compare.

Meghan: Apparently, for Sam, it did. And I do like both, the older version is nice and upbeat, but this version just does it for me. When they slowly bring in the drums and violin, I love it.

Aashna: The build-up to the second chorus is really nice, when the drums really kick in and the back-up vocals enter.

Meghan: This song is all about the breakdown in the last minute.

Aashna: It was this part that was so much better in the original version.

Meghan: Yeah, that’s true. I feel like this breakdown isn’t long enough, compared to what we got in the original.

Aashna: The end is so abrupt. And then it’s over. The whole album is over! Doesn’t that leave you craving for more?

Meghan: I can’t wait until his next album. When is it coming out? Is he working on it? Aashna, you have to TELL ME.

 

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