The Thrill Of It All
The end of a five-month relationship inspired the sophomore album from Sam Smith.
Listening to the record in its entirety though, might have one thinking that the love affair lasted at least fifty years.
That’s because The Thrill Of It All packs enough remorse and heartache to last a lifetime. In other words, it is ridiculously sappy.
Five months might seem like an inconsequential time period to provoke such melancholia. But his heartbreak provided enough material for an entire album, and this 14-track collection is genuinely moving.
Midnight Train has the Londoner worrying about what happens to minute details post-breakup (“What will your family think of me? They brought me in, they helped me out with everything”).
Meanwhile on Burning, the 25-year-old resigns himself to the fact that perhaps he just “wasn’t enough”.
That emotional undercurrent, coupled with Smith’s emotion-laden vocals (that gut-wrenching falsetto…), will no doubt get forlorn souls fervently playing The Thrill Of It All in the months to come.
Tracks such as Palace, Nothing Left For You and One Day At A Time are so painfully lonesome, one could only imagine the emotional catharsis that goes on behind the scenes.
But the album’s downtrodden theme is a double-edged sword. Sure, one could argue that heartbreak is a bankable timeless theme in music. Just look at 21, Adele’s blockbuster of an album.
The trouble with The Thrill Of It All though, is that the sadness is simply too severe. It gets to a point where listening to the record becomes a bit of a drag.
With the exception of the breezy Baby, You Make Me Crazy, there doesn’t seem to be any reprieve – both musically and lyrically – that suggests Smith will emerge all right from this perpetual heartbreak. And that endless hopelessness is just not thrilling at all.