In recent years, Sam Smith managed to replace Lily Allen as tabloid readers’ number one enemy. The singer who made the world fell in love with them and their first album In The Lonely Hour a few years ago hasn’t had much good press this year. Whether it’s annoying the transphobes with comments about their gender identity (Sam Smith came out as non-binary last year) or crying on social media in their multi-million-dollar mansion, it seems as the singer’s relationship with the public is a little different than when they won multiple Grammys for their debut.
Initially, Sam Smith’s album was meant to be released in May as To Die For. The singer later stated that releasing an album with such title would be inappropriate in the midst of the pandemic. Hmm, okay. It’s 30th of October, the day before Halloween, and Love Goes, Smith’s third studio record, is out.
The album opens with Young, a stunning ballad which just like Imogen Heap’s iconic Hide and Seek seems to be recorded acapella with only vocal effects accompanying Smith’s voice. “All I wanna do is […] kiss a hundred boys and not feel like I’m tied to them” – it’s a powerful statement, especially in 2020, when heteronormative society tells LGBT+ people it’s okay for them to be who they are, as long as they aren’t too extra, as long as they don’t sleep around too much. Despite being the album’s opener, Young is also its strongest element.
The song is followed by Diamonds, the album’s lead single. It’s a dance-pop tune with an infectious chorus and Sam Smith’s typical “I won’t let you ruin my mental health by breaking up with me but I’ll record an album about you” vibe throughout. It’s catchy, radio-friendly – I don’t mind. Unfortunately, there’s not much good to say about the rest of the tracklist. So Serious is probably the album’s worst track. The production is a mess, the instrumental produced by Lotus IV sounds like college student’s first time with Logic Pro (music production software by Apple) and the lyrics are simply terrible – “Put your hands in the air if you sometimes ever get sad like me”.
Dance (‘Til You Love Someone Else) is another really weak point. The chorus feels almost disrespectful with its pitch changes and simple composition. Only the title track Love Goes gives the listener some joy with its gorgeous piano intro and Labrinth’s charming vocals. And then, the avalanche of recycled singles from between the albums comes in. We have Promises with Calvin Harris here, the entertaining and super fun How Do You Sleep? as well as the disastrous I’m Ready with Demi Lovato… Maybe they will help with sales.
I adore Sam Smith’s early work and I know they can do better. I appreciate and respect the feelings that serve as the inspiration for the album but the music just isn’t very good. What can I say – that’s how love goes.
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