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Where do you go after you’ve released one of the biggest albums of the decade? For Sam Smith, he went into the bottom of a bottle as he tried (and failed) to deal with the aftermath of the monster success of debut In The

Lonely Hour.

Feeling creatively paralysed after a gruelling two years of touring, the Londoner finally forced himself to write new material when he realised drowning his demons wasn’t helping him. By his own admission, he went into “a deep place” to make his heavily anticipate­d second record, and although he doubts he will ever revisit that headspace again, it’s helped him create a worthy successor.

Expanding on the heartbreak­ing soul of his multi-million selling debut, some of Smith’s songs on the ironically titled The Thrill Of

It All explore new territory this

time around. Self-doubt, religion and sexuality are all examined and they prop up his more familiar tales of love. Though at times the LP can become a little claustroph­obic due to the dark subject matter and morose vocals, the gospel-infused ‘Him’ and brass-based ‘Say It First’ inject some light into proceeding­s. This is a record which will be instantly adored by the singer’s mammoth fanbase.

There are plenty of contenders for future “first dance at a wedding/final song as you’re laid to rest” status. Indeed, the likes of ‘Pray’ – which boasts some wonderfull­y raw lyrics – and bruised ballad ‘Burning’ will be inescapabl­e over the next year or two. Impressive stuff.


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The Thrill Of It All CAPITOL ‘Pray’ 7/10

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