Some people think that his first album “The Lonely Hour” is very depressing (With the exception to his more dance-y songs in the album, such as Money on My Mind and Restart, of course). People have said that Sam needs to cheer up, he’s too sad, and all his songs just put everyone in a sulky mood. But from what I’ve heard through his music, and through his countless interviews is that the vulnerability and the rawness of his songs bring to light a part of human emotion that has rarely been portrayed in music. At least not today. Yes Taylor Swift blatantly puts out her feelings through her songs, and I salute her for that however, Sam’s approach is a lot more realistic.
Many artists today have a set of songs that encompass all sorts of emotions relating to love. The sad, I just broke up with my boyfriend songs, the I’m still not over you songs, the I just got over you songs and now I am stronger songs. What differentiates Sam Smith’s songs from those of other artists today is that he recognises that heartbreak, and getting over someone you love, is a process and is something that takes time. Sure, one happy song here and there can make you feel better, but then after a while, you’d come down from that elated mood and back to where you started.
Instead of using music as a way of escaping such strong emotions of heartache, Sam prolongs it, stretches it out, and puts it in front of you, until you are forced to confront it, and experience it in all its rawness. His voice pull at your heartstrings because you know, at least once, you’ve experienced this (twelvies don’t count though, I’m sorry). Humans, by nature, are vulnerable and what “The Lonely Hour” does is it explores that vulnerability. It’s like that lump in your throat when you are trying not to cry. Except this time, you dont hold back. It says, yes, I am heart broken, this is where I’m at and that’s just the way it is. It’s a part of life. And it is that element of Sam Smith’s songs that connect with so many people. You don’t have to be a gay, 22 year old British man to understand unrequited love and heartbreak. Its universal.
My favourite track in the album is “Leave Your Lover.” When I listen to this song, I feel for Sam, because I’ve had that happen to me too. You know, that person that you really like and admire who doesn’t seem to even notice? “Oh I’m in love with you, and you will never know. It’s so relevant that it hurts.
In saying all this however, Sam has mentioned in his interviews that his songs, as sad as they are, also portray bravery. As in, the ability to face your emotions and not hide away. There is a sense of hope, that you can, and you will, overcome this heartache, and this lonely hour.
Sam Smith and his first album “The Lonely Hour” is a blessing. Let’s hope he continues to make beautiful music for very long time.