It was “unholy,” very unholy, and then he sang about “Gloria,” which means fame, glory, and splendor, but desire runs like a red thread on this album in the first song: “Love me more.” And by love, Sam Smith means above all self-love, which enables him to let others into his heart.
It sounds like a calendar says, and it often is. Surprisingly, though, the British musician, who came out as a non-binary person in 2019, still managed not to slip into embarrassment over new album “Gloria,” despite the pure punk pop.
It delivers a good pathos. Colleague Beyoncé compared Smith’s voice to butter: smooth, full and good. His debut “The Lonely Hour” (2014) sold nine million copies and brought the then 22-year-old four Grammys. “The Thrills of It All” and “Love Goes” followed. Smith was denied a Brit Award in 2021 due to the then dual categories.
Self-searching and self-discovery, fears and doubts, chaos in relationships. These are the big themes that dominate the album. But fortunately, the songs are powerful enough to convey fears. Musically, Smith remains rooted in creamy pop, and the atmosphere on 13 Songs – the last in a duet with Ed Sheeran – oscillates between dancehall and bowl. “Love me more” won’t be a problem after this album.
Album tip: Sam Smith. Glory. Universal Music.
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