When romantic relationships fall apart, it’s often difficult to look back at them without getting absolutely pissed off (I’m that person), or ending up with wet patches of tears on your bedsheets (also me). It’s for that reason that albums revolving around breakups – from big names such as Adele and Amy Winehouse (ugh Back to Black is my absolute fave) all the way to other, lesser–known artists – always appear to deliver like hotcakes. They touch us in the deepest reaches of our hearts, soothe the pain of the metaphorical kick in our guts, and make us feel like we aren’t the only people in the world feeling totally crushed that our significant others have ditched us for whatever reason.
Cover art source: Genius
But in Sam Smith’s latest album, The Thrill of It All, he endeavours to do exactly the opposite. He puts on a slightly more positive perspective on things – one where how you feel after a breakup isn’t so much a harsh-tasting pill you can’t swallow, but more like a morsel of super-strong dark chocolate: bitter when you first pop it in your mouth, but sweet when it goes down your gullet.
It’s not to say that this album is an instant pick-me-up, a tab of Xanax to be taken as needed. Instead, The Thrill of It All feels more like a journey of healing. The album’s first track, ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ – I expect that you’ve already heard this one by now – starts it off with an air of indifference, with lyrics like, “Every time you walk out, the less I love you / baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true.” The song that follows it, ‘Say It First,’ runs in the same vein too: “‘Cause I’m never gonna heal my past / if I run every time it starts / so I need to know if I’m in this alone.”
But Smith picks up quickly after that, and the mood of the album gradually starts to lift. The richness of his voice make an unlikely but strong match to the gospel choir-esque backgrounds of ‘HIM’ and ‘Baby, You Make Me Crazy,’ while the dulcet tones of YEBBA, the only other artist to officially feature in this album, make a perfect complement to the powerful lyrics of ‘No Peace.’
If you’re looking for an album to make you cry, The Thrill of It All isn’t the one. Unlike In The Lonely Hour, Smith’s previous album, this one is not about dwelling on what you feel in the midst of all the angst. It’s more on what you can expect to feel after the clouds start to break and the sun shines through the cracks. And we suppose that all of us can learn a thing or two from this album – it’s quite s**t that our exes have decided to throw in the towel on us, but hey, there’s no point lingering in the haze of angst for too long. There are, after all, bigger fish in the sea.
Bigger, better, nicer, and hotter fish.
Stream the special edition of The Thrill of It All on Spotify below:
Header image source: Amazon
By Zamir Zainal