Album Review — “Love Goes” by Sam Smith
We haven’t had a lot of good things this year. Simply put, but it’s true. Movies were canceled or postponed for years, video game releases were put off for what feels like eons and even Disneyland has been closed for almost an entire year. (Sure, Disneyworld is open, but that’s in Florida so it doesn’t count.)
Thankfully, something we can always count on is music, and believe me, it has been my saving grace throughout the duration of this demonic virus that has been plaguing the world for the past however long.
Last week, on Oct. 30, Sam Smith released their new album “Love Goes”. I have always been a huge fan of Sam Smith. Lyrically, politically and personally, I have always admired their dedication to the craft and their ability to be unabashedly themselves.
The album starts off with “Young”, a completely acapella piece that sounds like what I imagine it feels like to be sitting in a bathtub full of roses, sipping champagne and looking out on the crisp blue waters of the French Riviera. Sam’s voice is like silk, it flows through the song so effortlessly that it makes you forget just how much hard work goes into songwriting and singing. This is my favorite song on the album, and it is only the first track. It’s fair to say that listening through the album for the first time, I had pretty high hopes after this first song.
The second track smashed the billboards when it was released as the second single on the album. “Diamonds” is a faster song, something that I don’t usually associate with Smith’s music. It has a very pop tone and starts out sounding like a Barcelonian ballad. When I first heard it, I immediately thought about “The Cheetah Girls” and I honestly could not tell you why. With lyrics like, “My diamonds leave with you, you’re never gonna hear my heart break, never gonna move in dark ways, baby, you’re so cruel”, it has a dark tone while still maintaining a clubby vibe. Not exactly what I would expect from Sam Smith, but a vibe nonetheless.
The next three tracks radiate the same vibe for me, the third track, “Another One” sounds similar to The Chainsmokers and has a very radio, top-40’s kind of sound. I feel like that one will be very popular with the teens during the cold winter months. Maybe if prom was happening, it would be very highly played.
After that, we have the fourth track, “My Oasis (feat. Burna Boy)” which unfortunately I wasn’t very into. It’s very echoey, and a slower vibe which I’m usually not very privy to. But if you’re looking for a song to listen to while just daydreaming and staring at the sky, this one is for you.
Track five, “So serious” is one of the most lyrically beautiful songs on the album. “Put your fingers on your chest and your body and breathe, let it be. Don’t find it hard to say so, I’ll say it, “I get lonely.” I mean come on. This song is a BOP. A dance track that you can relate to on a deep level with some emotional warmth behind it is something that is very hard to come by, but this song manages to do it effortlessly.
The sixth track, “Dance (till you love someone else)”, is also kind of like a club song, and I found it reminded me a lot of another song on the album that was released as a single back in January (I know, it feels like it was years ago). It’s very pop-friendly, something that you would expect to be overplayed on the radio. That being said, I’m a sucker for lyrics, and they can change the entire song around for me, which this song almost did. “Thought I buried you and I, but I have diamonds in my eyes, such a bitter tear to cry.”
“For The Lover That I Lost” brought me all the way back to November of 2017 during my freshman year of college. Driving around in the snow back and forth from my night class blasting songs from Sam’s second album “The Thrill of it All”. This album changed my life. I know that it’s tacky to say that, but it’s true. Freshman year was really hard for me and I thank God that this album came out when it did. “For The Lover That I Lost” has such a similar vibe to Sam’s second album. It’s slow but all-encompassing and makes you feel like you’re driving through a blizzard with how caught up in the song you become without even noticing it. It’s heartbreaking and desolating, but it is absolutely beautiful. “So I lay a dozen roses for the lover that I’ve lost, I stand by all my choices even though I paid the cost.”
The next track “Breaking Hearts” reminds me a lot of Sam’s first album “In The Lonely Hour”. This track is very solemn yet keeps time feeling fleeting while showcasing their soft and pillowy voice. It feels like a song that was written specifically for their voice type and to showcase their range as much as possible.
The way that I like to judge a song is how excited I am after listening to it, to learn the words and be able to sing it myself. It’s probably the weird choir kid in me still trying to break free, but the next track “Forgive Myself” awoke the high-school choir nerd that was asleep in my soul and excited her to the core. “Now my heart is broken and I’m crying on the floor, and every part of me hopes you walk through the door. But you’re not here, baby, and I can’t love anyone else ‘till I forgive myself.”
“Love Goes (feat. Labrinth)” the title track, feels like Christmas. Starting out with a beautiful piano piece, the beginning is slow and drawn out like watching a taffy machine. Then out of nowhere, a beat comes in and so does artist Labrinth, making the song come full circle. This song is my second favorite because it has such an unexpected turn as well as a beautiful melodic frame surrounding the voices.
I don’t want to talk about “Kids Again” because it made me sad and nostalgic. I like to think I’m still a kid because it makes me sad to think I’m old and that is all I will say about that.
The next two songs, “Dancing With A Stranger (with Normani)” and “How Do You Sleep?” were both released earlier in the year as singles. I feel the same about the former that I feel about “Dance (till you love someone else)”. Very Top 40, and just not really my thing. However, ‘How Do You Sleep?” is an absolute jam, and if this was a normal year, you would definitely catch me screaming this in a karaoke bar on the weekends. This was not the year to turn 21.
“I’m Ready (with Demi Lovato)” is another club song. I’m not usually into the techno-pop, overplayed club songs type, but I absolutely love Demi Lovato and Sam Smith separately, so adding them together was just the most perfect combination I could’ve imagined.
“Fire on Fire” is like if I were to take “In The Lonely Hour” and “The Thrill of It All” and melt them together. It is a perfect combination of everything Sam Smith is known for vocally, lyrically and emotionally. It’s a song about a love that is too powerful, something that feels like too much. The songs talk about feeling overwhelmed by someone that you feel so passionately about, hence, fire on fire. Beautiful lyrics, beautiful musical arrangement and a beautiful intro to the conclusion of the album. “Maybe it’s ’cause I got a little bit older, maybe it’s all that I’ve been through. I’d like to think it’s how you lean on my shoulder and how I see myself with you.”
The last song on the album, “Promises (with Sam Smith)” is technically by Calvin Harris, although Sam does the singing. This is the ultimate club bop. Calvin Harris is on it so you know that it’s going to be overplayed in every club, bar and gathering as soon as COVID-19 is over and hopefully not any sooner.
I think I will give this album a solid 7 out of 10. I have a very special place in my heart for Smith’s second album, “The Thrill of It All”, so I can’t fathom giving it as high of marks as what I consider a solid 9 out of 10. This album includes some absolutely stunning lyrics, heart-wrenching lyrics and songs that I will be belting out in my car for a very long time. My favorites, “Young”, “Love Goes (feat. Labrinth)” and “For The Lover That I Lost” are the absolute best of a fantastic album, and something that brought so many people so much happiness during such a dark time in the world. I highly suggest that you take a listen as soon as you possibly can.